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A Thousand Fires

Tender portrait of a couple in Myanmar who single-handedly run a small, unregulated oil field. They work very hard for a better future for their son.

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In the Magway region of Myanmar, a country home to one of the oldest petroleum industries in the world, live husband and wife Thein Shwe and Htwe Tin. Using their bare hands, the couple draw oil from a pit they drilled themselves on the land next to their house. Every few days, they produce a barrel. They dream of seeing their youngest son succeed, to send him to school, to break the cycle of poverty. More than anything else, he dreams of becoming a professional footballer.

The film offers a glimpse into an unusual way of life that combines grueling work and afternoon naps with visits to a fortune teller who predicts the couple’s future—mysticism is never far away in Myanmar, even in this oil-soaked setting.

Saeed Taji Farouky, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, 2021, 90 min. Burmese spoken, Dutch subtitles.
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