Shot by Cinematographer Susie Salavati, Beyond the Salween (directed by Gigi Berardi) played in competition at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2019.


Beyond the Salween is set in the jungle of Eastern Burma, where a medical student, a trainer and a senior medic all face the consequences of the longest standing civil war in the world.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival started in 1989 and is Asia’s first international documentary film festival and has been described as a “magnet for independent filmmakers.”


“Considering that he does not speak the language, Berardi achieves a remarkable sense of intimacy with subjects. During the Q&A he attributed this to immersion and familiarity. “I only switched on the camera when I saw they got bored of me.”


The narrative arc of the film follows the medic’s hike over several hundred kilometres. We encounter patients along the way in a series of vignettes. The most shocking of these occurs when the medics shoot a pig to practice resuscitation. The unfortunate patient dies and one medic retreats in tears. The film avoids shock, sentimentality, didacticism. Although formally conventional, Berardi’s approach feels assured and sincere.” BFI


Read the rest of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival BFI article HERE