Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Philanthropist "Myramar": Mission of Burma

Just like last week, the best parts about The Philanthropist are actor James Purefoy and the music. Once again, the choice of narration through a flimsy construct (this time, a board of directors meeting where Teddy's job is at risk) threatens to deflate the episode, and this week it's worse because it's no longer Purefoy doing the narration. This time it's Jesse L. Martin - who is fine, but Purefoy's charm (and accent) go a long way in smoothing over the clunky exposition. And, once again, we're faced with the conceit of the rich white man making things better for the poor, third world resident of choice (this time, the girl with the kidney).

Besides Purefoy, the music goes a long way to helping you forget the problems. The template of going to another part of the world and using music from it (or near it, as was the case last week, with no Nigerian artist represented,) is a formula that I think I'm looking forward to each week. This week, the locale is Burma (or Myanmar, "if you're nasty,") and the music chosen was mostly pulled from the Laya Project, a collective of South Indian musicians pulled together to highlight the plight and spirit of the region after the devastating Tsunami of 2004. And like Buena Vista Social Club, a documentary was made that captured the magic of the recordings. While it hasn't reached the popularity of a BVSC, it did win some film festival awards and prompted a world tour by the musicians involved. Currently, you can't get the film on DVD in the states, but maybe if it's inclusion in The Philanthropist can get it some traction towards a stateside viewing in whatever form. (Trailer below, under playlist and tracklisting.)

Playlist: The Philanthropist - Episode 1.02
1. "Hai La Sa" - Laya Project
2. "Tapatam" - Laya Project
3. "Touare" - Laya Project
4. "A New Day" - Laya Project
5. "Phu Pwae Lat Tin (The Hug)" - Zaw Win Maung

Previously: An Englishmen in Abuja (Pilot/Ep1.01)

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