Jupiter：It is a milestone of a young woman
编者按：现居仰光的Jupiter，是一位“95后”掸族和印度混血女孩，来自掸邦东枝——一座美丽的山中小城。她的原名叫Nang Mhwe Ngin Seng，但大家都叫她Jupiter。在仰光电影学校学习期间，Jupiter制作的毕业作品——纪录短片《不像父亲那样》是一位掸族青年的自述，讲述自己将拥有与吸毒的父亲截然不同的人生。此外，她也曾作为副导演参与琅勃拉邦电影节策划的“湄公河2030”剧情短片缅甸部分的拍摄和制作。
一开始，我打算做一部关于掸族Tai Loi支系的纪录片，这个支系住在缅甸掸邦南部的勐奈地区。然而，新冠疫情的爆发让我没能前往拍摄Tai Loi人，他们的文化、生活方式以及他们作为少数人如何面对在这个国家的挑战。作为一个年轻的掸族女孩，我觉得还欠自己和自己民族一部讲我们的故事的纪录片。
Editor's note: Jupiter is a "post-95" Shan- Hindi girl living in Yangon currently. She comes from Taunggyi, a beautiful mountain city in Shan state. Her original name was Nang Mhwe Ngin Seng, but we call her Jupiter. During her study at Yangon Film School, Jupiter's graduation film "Not Like My Father" is a self-report of a Shan youth who tells us that he will have a different life from his father who is addicted to drugs. In addition, as an associate director, Jupiter had participated in the shooting and production of Myanmar part of the short film collection "Mekong 2030" planned by the Luang Prabang Film Festival.
During her participation in the "Lancang-Mekong Vision" program in 2020, she decided to go to Southern Shan state to shoot villages of Tai Loi people, a branch of the Shan people. But just two weeks before her departure, Myanmar faced a second wave of a new outbreak of the Covid-19, with the number of confirmed cases increasing by more than 1000 a day on average. Yangon was under lockdown soon. Public transport between Yangon and the outside world was blocked, and on the eve of the general election, traffic among blocks of Yangon was also blocked. Thus, Jupiter couldn't go to the Tai Loi village, or even go back to Taunggyi to spend the Thadingyut Festival and the Shan new year with his family. She had to adjust her plan temporarily, so we can see the documentary "But...Life Goes On."
Jupiter's topic changed naturally. This year, almost everyone in the world actively or passively reconsidered and recognized the relationship between themselves and the surrounding world. In this case, "But...Life Goes On" wrote down a note for our times with the introspection of an ordinary and extraordinary young woman. This is a rare and precious self-analysis, and it happens to be a film. It faced directly the darkness and also released the light.
At first, I planned to make a documentary about the Shan minority called Tai Loi, that still live in Southern Shan State, Mong Nai region. Unfortunately, Covid broke out and I was not able to roll out the plan and shoot Tai Loi people, their culture, lifestyle, and how they live now with challenges for all struggling minorities in this country. As a young Shan woman, I still owe a documentary to myself and to my people in order to tell our story.
I’ve been getting stuck in Yangon since it started, and, day after day the number of Covid patients is still increasing in every corner of this big city. As we all know, Covid pauses the operation and causes delaying to some, or minimizing all kind of activities. It hurts the film industry here the most.
During the second wave lockdown, I stay in my apartment as there’s no plane nor bus to travel, to get out of this sicken city. So I miss my mom, family members, and my home all the time. I thoughts about them more at the Thadingyut festival in November when our people illuminate homes with lanterns and pay respect to seniors and their parents. There’s soft yellow warm light hanging in every corner and the children running with joy that filled in the air. It makes us realize where we deeply belonged and the root of our existence. What a blessing moment for all of us！
But here in this big dark city, in this hard time, all I can do is thinking a lot more about them with a sense of belonging, the bond we share through the time, and most importantly, I question myself about my role. What took us here? Through the hard time and the joys, we are still connecting. What does it take to have a family?
I know we all have a story to tell. We all have the past, the history that has shaped us who we are today. It was quite hard for me to answer what I want the most in my life in the past. After struggling with isolation, loneliness, never-ending thoughts, and the paradox of life, I’ve come to sense that I’ve been yearning for a happy family, the one that I never have. Those who have been through a very hard time with family understand me and know what it takes to have a broken family. It is still hurting us inside, but still, we carry on with it and let it live on with a glimpse of hope, a better time for all of us.
Now I grew up, traveled many miles, met many people, and talked with people from all ranks, and I must say that it gave me lessons to learn and a history of my own to carry on. Surely, I am not the only one who passed through this way. There are many out there who walked a similar path to mine. However, the past is the past. The show must go on. We must live on for a better future.
I believe that everyone deserves happiness, especially in a hard time like this. Whatever took you to where you are now, or whatever you did, we are still obliged to build a better future. It’s on us, on every individual. Happiness is within us. But without realizing it as it is, I don’t think we can have it. That’s why that kind of moment is very crucial.
Under this pandemic period, it’s such a challenge to make a film and I must say a bit more in creating documentary where and when it requires personal contact and interviews. Therefore, I used all the resources within my reach, collected all the footage, and worked with people around me in this lockdown. Though it was hard to go out and shoot, I did it safely and most importantly I did it without passing any burden to those who helped me. Without their goodwill and contribution, I would not make this. I must express my gratitude for them at any given chance. It is not only a documentary about me but also a milestone of a young woman who had attained an ability to see her life as a whole picture and as it is.