Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was “thrilled” to introduce the screening of “The Lady,” a Hollywood movie based on the life of Burma democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
Clinton thanked the film’s star Michelle Yeoh and director Luc Besson Monday for managing to get her a copy of the movie to watch ahead of her historic trip to Myanmar last December, where she met Suu Kyi. Secretary Clinton’s trip to the Asian country was the first for a U.S. Secretary of State in 56 years.
“This is a terrific movie, ” said Clinton. ” This film portrays a woman whose story needs to be in theaters and living rooms across the world.”
Yeoh, best known for her performance in “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” was on a panel along with the film’s director and U.S. Special Representative for Burma, Derek Mitchell. The award-winning actress called the secretary’s endorsement of the film her “proudest moment.” Yeoh spent nearly a year preparing to play the human rights icon, including learning Burmese.
The screening, hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America, was not just a film premier – it provided and opportunity to reflect on the current state of politics in Myanmar. Mitchell, who is expected to be named as the new Ambassador to the formally rogue nation, noted that while the movie focuses on Suu Kyi’s decades of detention fighting for democracy, today the Nobel Peace Laureate took her place as an elected official in Myanmar’s Parliament.
Both Mitchell and Secretary Clinton acknowledged that the country continues to have human rights issues that will need to be addressed before Myanmar will truly be a democracy, but they praised the progress that’s already been made.
Secretary Clinton joked that she told Suu Kyi that “she’s moving from an icon to an elected official. Having made sort of the same journey to some extent I know that that’s not easy,” she said. ”Now you go to parliament and you start compromising. That is what democracy is all about.”