Moving To Mars Review: From Jungle To Jungle
MOVING TO MARS: Tuesday 2nd February, More 4, 10pm ALERT ME
Lately it seems that every new day brings a fresh set of problems from the far corners of the earth and although it’s sometimes hard to feel sympathy for the entire world, Moving To Mars takes the time to remind us of a problem that we may have forgotten about.
The conflict in Burma may have faded into the background for us, but for those who live there, the suffering is still very real.
In this film we follow two families from the Karen tribe, who’ve been living in a refugee camp in Thailand for nearly 20 years. The military in Burma has forced them from their homes and though the film depicts their life in the jungle as reasonably happy, they later describe it as a prison. Their living conditions aren’t ideal but for the most part they seem content; they have education, food and water, family and friends.
But now a UN relocation program has found them homes in Sheffield and so Thaw Htoo’s family and Jo-Kae’s family are coming to Blighty, but how will they react to life in the West?
Director Mat Whitecross appraoches the sbject objectively and doesn’t over sentimentalise the story, really leaving it up to the families to tell their tale. Thaw Htoo was a civil engineer in Burma but when his house was set on fire by the Burmese army, he and his wife lost everything, including his diploma. He is fortunate however, as he speaks very good English and is an educated man. His brother, Jo-Kae, is not so lucky; his illiteracy stands in his way and while in Thailand he could work in the fields, he may not fare so well in a mechanical Britain.
This isn’t a film about scrounging immigrants, coming over here and taking our jobs; these are genuine refugees whose lives have consisted of one struggle after another. After watching these families adjust to our culture, our landscape and our weather, it will hopefully make many think a little differently about immigration issues.
Often we Brits are world class moaners but we forget how fortunate we are. “Burma is a stupid country. There is no freedom and there is no peace.” Not a sentence we can say about England with honesty, is it?