Lee Yong-Chao, Taiwan, 2021, 76'
WORLD Premiere
Thu. 12.8.2021, 11h00, La Sala
Fr. 13.8.2021, 9h00, Palacinema 1

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In the Kachin state, a Burmese province south of Tibet, men can be captured and forcibly recruited into the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organisation for the equivalent of about 30 francs a month. Developed in the late 1950s in response to the government’s desire to impose Buddhism on the predominantly Christian Kachins, this originally anti-communist independence movement resumed fighting in 2011, after refusing to integrate the Burmese army’s border guard troops.

It is in this context that the protagonist of The Bad Man was abducted and turned into a soldier, even though he was still a child. Seriously wounded in combat and severely disabled since then, he is now sharing his experience and thinking about what path to embark on in the future. After immersing us in the daily lives of minors fearing an attack by the Kachin Independence Army in Blood Amber (Semaine de la Critique, 2017), Lee Yong Chao focuses his camera on one of the protagonists who was part of this invisible threat. The talented director has again succeeded in creating a strong portrait, capture the words and integrate them in their context. The content of his new documentary is, however, much more chilling since we are dealing with a physically destroyed and mentally transformed man who describes the atrocities he committed with disconcerting nonchalance. The Bad Man is an extremely strong testimony that probes an impaired humanity by looking it straight in the eye. One thing is certain, there is nothing commonplace about this malaise.

Thomas Gerber