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July 05, 2020

Centenary of the Myanmar films Myatt Lay, the most extraordinary film star in the 100 years’ period

Maung Nyi Nyutt

If the one who appreciated any kind of art, he would be familiar with another kind of art easily. The late academy award winner Myatt Lay was such kind of an artist. He was good at film, literature and music. He was a versatile artist in his days. The origin of his livelihood was a songwriter. By the time the turning of a new page in the Myanmar music, he was a well-known musician. He was a New Age musician in our country. He knew music as well as poetry. As he liked the style of the rhyme in Saya Hmine’s poetry very much, he wrote his songs as the rhyming songs like him. So, he was known as a rhyming songs writer. During his career as a musician, he was very fond of film. He studied some cinematography books as much as he could. At the time of the ninety fifties, the sons of the A.1 film and the British Burma film companies went abroad to get B.A (cinema). He could not go abroad like them. He stayed in his native land and studied cinematography earnestly. After he had studied it some years ago, he knew very well about the cinematography. He knew the art of a scriptwriter, the art of a director, the art of an actor and all about film in theory, too.
Studying cinematography, he watched the international films, such as the American Classic ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘The Birth of a Nation’, ‘Napoleon’ by Francis Ford Coppola, ‘The Bicycle Thief’, some comedies by Charlie Chaplin and ‘The Ten Commandments’ by C.C.D.B Mills. Then he knew the difference between international films and Myanmar films.

Myatt Lay was a victorious actor in a conventional style.
Myatt Lay was a victorious actor in a conventional style.

In the ninety fifties, most of the Myanmar films were full of cheap emotions and tragedies. Most of the Myanmar films did not free from these kinds of categories. The audience could not watch the new films in accordance with the time. It was pity that people had no choice to choose some new films, a new categories and some new outlook for pleasure from the films. All Myanmar films did not go against these kinds of trends. They made the movies just like the same as the six blind Brahman touched an elephant. The audience could not go in the right way. They could not go where to escape. It was very pity to see them.
As a newly independent country like Myanmar, these old trends of movies did not go well with it. Aiming the international film standard was too far like the sky and the earth. Watching these old trends of films one should get the idea to change some new films as soon as possible. He realized that no change, no gain. As he knew the knowledge of cinematography, he wrote the script of his film himself. He directed it himself and he also made himself an actor in it. He was a new actor, too in his premiere film. It was very strange and no one could be seen such an act like him before in the history of the world and Myanmar.
When he started his film, he did not ask for help from any person in the world of film. He started with the help of his comrades in the music world and he made Tin Tin Mu as an actress in his premiere film.
The story of ‘Pinlon Htiek Htar Oo’ was about the love story of a songwriter of the plain and a girl of Shan nationality from Pinlon who was fond of music. As he loved a girl of Pinlon in the Shan State and he loved her very much, he called his love the Empress of Pinlon lovely. The audience could know easily the name of the film was matched with it.
There was a cut in the film nobody could be seen in the other film before. During the actor was chatting with his love, he immediately drew a map of Myanmar on the mirror and asked her, “Show me where the Shan State is”. Then she replied, “ As I’ve learnt Geography, why don’t I know where it is. Here it is.” Then he said, “Well, we live together on the same land and we drink together the same water, too. That’s why I love you.” It was the best cut in it. It reflected the spirit of Pinlon heartily. The audience knew how much respect he paid to the result of the Pinlon convention. ‘Pinlon Hitek Htar Oo’ was going together with the condition of that time. Some of the plenty of cheap emotion films were left far behind it.
After Pinlon Hitek Htar Oo was shown, U Ne Win, the son of the British film who got B.A, (cinema) from abroad praised the creator of ‘Pinlon Htike Htar Oo’. He welcomed him to his own film company to make some more films. He liked his talent very much and he became a talent-scout for his talent. A real ruby cannot sink in the mire is true for Myatt Lay.
‘Crying Because of Singing’ was the first picture released from the British Burma company and directed by Myatt Lay. The film was ended by tragedy. The audience did not like tragic ending. The talented artist let the audience see his film technique for the first time at the end of his film. No one saw the split screen with the two versions in the film before. According to the new theory, the solution was not to be made by the director but let the audience choose their solution themselves. He showed the tragic end in one side and the happy end in the other side on the cinemascope screen. His innovative art was marvelous. He was praised by all. He showed his talent in his days by saying “No one like Myatt Lay in the presentation, no one like Myatt Lay in the dialogue. It was true that Myatt Lay was the most extraordinary film star in the 100 years’ duration.

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