In 1885, a small British expeditionary force invaded Upper Burma and deposed King Thibaw. He was the last king of the Konbaung dynasty and the last ruling Burmese monarch in a history dating back thousands of years. Thibaw, Queen Supayalat, and other members of the royal family were unceremoniously deported from their palace in Mandalay into exile in Ratnagiri, to be housed in a remote, rundown colonial mansion along India's endless west coast. Thibaw died there in 1916 and was interred in India. Supayalat died in 1925 in Rangoon (Yangon today), where she is entombed. The Burmese royal family in exile acquired an Indian branch but essentially vanished from sight during the long struggle for independence from Britain, the trauma of the World War II and Japanese occupation, and military dictatorship for much of the post-independence period after 1948.
King Thibaw, Burma's last king, is entombed in Ratnakiri along India's east coast
After a century of silence, descendants of the lost royal family have resurfaced, not to reclaim a lost throne but as patriots seeking to correct and clarify some of the wrongs of a painful history. Beautifully filmed through three years of seismic change in modern Myanmar, this is the story of a family and a country still emerging from darkness.
-- an award-winning filmmaker, author and explorer, praised the film: "We Were Kings is a must-see film for anyone who wants to understand Burma today. After years on the ground, (Alex) Bescoby gives a unique insight into a country so often in the headlines, but that we Brits really know very little about. Britain and Burma have an amazing shared history, and this film tells it with a subtlety and humour that will take you by surprise."
The FCCT will premier We Were Kings on January 31, and welcome U Soe Win, King Thibaw's great-grandson, and Alex Bescoby, the film's maker, among others.
Further details to be announced.
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