Old Movie Posters

By San Lin Tun


Movie posters are a very interesting social study. Of course, they enchant movie-goers and film enthusiasts with their aesthetic qualities. Movie posters can convey the gist or essence of the movie and the actors who star in it.


In the 1950s, Burma had about 150 cinemas, one third of which were located in Rangoon.


Movie producers thought of ways to attract movie lovers and they used the best movie poster illustrators for that purpose.


One example of a classic Myanmar movie is Ludu Aung Than(The People Win Through), made in 1954, directed by George Seitz, Jr, andbased on a play by Prime Minister U Nu. It was produced by Cascade Pictures Corporation of America.


The movie has the intention of spreading the value of democracy to the public and has anti-communist sentiments. The starring actors are Major Ba Ko, Maung Maung Tar, Hla Maung Lay, Ma Htar Htar and Ma Kyin Po. The poster shows the characters in their costumes with different emotions and concerns on their faces to augment the movie’s sense of excitement and suspense.


The movie A Pal Yadanar(A Neglected Gem), directed by Shumawa U Kyaw, also has a notable poster. The movie is based on the novel by author Mya Myo Lwin. The starring actors are Nyunt Win and San San Aye and the supporting actors are Maung Yin Kyi, Chit Sein, U Kyi Maung, May Nwe, Daung Nwe Swe, Khin Moe Moe and Shu Ma Wa. The essence of the movie is represented with a violin because the story concerns an impoverished grandfather and granddaughter who made money by playing the violin around pagan pagodas.


Another notable film, Panthar Ma Sar U,was a Panthar Film production. The story was based on the novel by famous author Thakhin Ba Thaung. The cast includes Zayya, Aye Kyu, May Thit, Thar Ghaung Gyi, Daw Gyan Sein, Mya Nwe, U San Myint, Ko Ba Chit, Man Hla Phe, Daw Khin Nyunt and May Kyin.


The poster conveys the moment when the character played by actress May Thit goes to a village donation ceremony and there meets the urbanites Ba Chit, Zayya and Man Hla Phe. From the poster, the audience can sense the attraction between Zayya and May Thit and how their romantic paths might cross. The poster depicts the couple sitting side by side while Zayya looks adoringly at May Thit. The antagonist Aye Kyu is observing them with a wry smile on his face while the supporting characters look up to them.


Another notable film is Eain Htaung Su(Family), directed by Sayar U Chin Sein. The film conveys the various roles played by every member of a household. The cast includes Tun Wai, Khin Yu May, Collegegin Ne Win, Ma Khin Kyi, Mal Bamar Ma and Sein Aye. The poster for the film shows the entire cast, focusing on the facial expressions of every actor. All the characters are smiling and almost no worries are seen on their faces.


San Lin Tun is a freelance writer of essays, poetry, short stories and novels in Myanmar and English language. His previous books include; Reading a George Orwell Novel in a Myanmar Teashop and Other Essays, The Enigma of Big Bunny’s Arrival and Other Short Stories, and his most recent work An English Writer. He lives in Yangon with his wife and two sons.