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Timor-Leste / Singapore, 2006 (MIFF 2006, Documentaries)

Director: Grace Phan


Xanana Gusmão is a living legend. This poet-guerilla led the 24-year war against Indonesian occupation of East Timor, seven of those years from a prison in Jakarta. While the word ‘hero' is often bandied about indiscriminately in popular commentary, the leadership of Gusmão has been genuinely heroic, and galvanising. Using President Gusmão as its narrator and guide, A Hero's Journey details today's East Timor through his eyes and, most significantly, through his heart. As filmmaker Grace Phan explains, the film is about the importance of the liberating force of forgiveness - “a notion which transcends all geographical, cultural and ethnic boundaries.” Over the one-and-a-half years of the production, Phan and her crew scoured the length and breadth of East Timor's rugged terrain to present this young nation - physically and through its people - in all of its grandeur and its fragility.

“This film is not about me. It is about the resilience of the people of Timor-Leste, the real people who lived for centuries with very little but unreservedly gave all the best they had.”- President of East Timor, Xanana Gusmão

D/P/S Grace Phan WS Lux Lucis L English, Portuguese, Tetun, Indonesian w/English subtitles TD video/2006/81mins

Grace Phan was born in Singapore in 1969. A Hero's Journey (2006) is her feature film directing debut.

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