The Venerable W.
Le Vénérable W
This hard-hitting documentary by Barbet Schroeder examines Burmese Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu’s anti-Islamic vitriol in Myanmar.
Singapore PremiereFrance, Switzerland / 2017 / 100MIN / Burmese, English, Spanish
Evil comes in many forms. In Myanmar, it manifests in the casual racism and Islamophobia of influential, charismatic Burmese Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu. Through interviews with international journalists and community leaders who protest against Wirathu’s views, explicit amateur footage of the persecution of the Rohingya, and a well contextualised narrative, director Barbet Schroeder slowly, but inexorably, builds his case. Perhaps most damning of all are the interviews with the man himself; couching his rhetoric in nationalist fervour.
In an era of Brexit and the Trump presidency, The Venerable W. feels urgently relevant. Schroeder’s deliberate, masterful documentary is a forceful testimony against intolerance and violence, and a powerful statement about the dark side of human nature.
Cast & Credits
Oscar nominated Swiss director Barbet Schroeder started his filmmaking journey during the French New Wave and went on to establish a career in Hollywood. He began his Trilogy of Terror with the critically acclaimed documentary Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait (1974), followed by Terror’s Advocate (2007). The Venerable W. is the final instalment of the trilogy.
Lionel Baier, Margaret Ménégoz
Maria de Meideros (Small Buddhist Voice)
• Special Screenings, Cannes Film Festival 2017
• In Spirit for Freedom Award – Honorable Mention, Jerusalem Film Festival 2017
• Official Selection, BFI London Film Festival 2017