Paris: Myanmar`s revered pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is now also a movie protagonist after Luc Besson`s "The Lady" premiered at the Toronto film festival.
The French director crafted a tender story of love and family tragedy, reaching beyond the political struggle by using private files obtained through sources close to Suu Kyi, her late British husband, and their two sons.
Suu Kyi returned to the country formerly known as Burma from Oxford in 1988 due to her mother`s worsening health, launching a life in the political spotlight followed by the darkness of house arrest ordered by a military junta.
She would not see her husband Michael Aris again, as the junta refused to grant him an entry visa and she knew that if she left Myanmar she would never be allowed back. Aris eventually died of prostate cancer in 1999.
"No matter what, Aung San Suu Kyi is immortal," said Besson, of the opposition icon who was released by the junta in November 2010 after seven straight years of house arrest.
"There are thousands and thousands of people who give their life for their country and for democracy.
"And you don`t ask yourself, `Is it going to work? Are we going to win the war? Are we going to win democracy? You just fight," Besson added.
The daughter of a revolutionary general assassinated when she was only two years old and still revered by the population for leading Myanmar`s fight for independence, Suu Kyi was called upon to lead the nation out from under the shadow of military dictatorship.
"The Lady," as she is affectionately known, picks up her story upon the return to Myanmar, chronicling her non-violent fight for democracy as protests erupted against the ruling generals only to be brutally crushed.
She delivered speeches to hundreds of thousands at Yangon`s glittering Shwedagon Pagoda and took on a leading role in the opposition movement as head of the National League for Democracy.
Her popularity culminated in a 1990 election victory for the party, but the NLD were never allowed to take power and Suu Kyi has spent most of the past two decades under house arrest.
"I lived and breathed her every day for the last four years," said Michelle Yeoh, who embodies Suu Kyi`s tranquil defiance in the film.
The Malaysian actress read the books she read and studied her heroes, including India`s Mohandas Gandhi.