Luc Besson's 'The Lady' Named Rome Film Festival's Opening Film

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Michelle Yeoh

The drama stars Michelle Yeoh as Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

ROME – The European premiere of The Lady, the docu-pic that focuses on the life of Burmese activist and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, will be the opening film at the next International Rome Film Festival, organizers said.

The film, directed by France’s Luc Besson, will be the centerpiece of the Oct. 27 opening ceremony at Rome’s Parco della Musica. It stars Michelle Yeoh in the leading role.

Suu Kyi, who was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, spend most of her life fighting for democracy in her country, drawing worldwide attention to the events there. He life is so controversial that even Yeah, the film’s star, was banned from traveling to Burma simply for playing Suu Kyi in the film.

The announcement of the opening film so far ahead of the start of the schedule is unusual, and is sure to draw attention to the six-year-old festival.

I am delighted and honored that The Lady has been selected to open the Rome festival,” Besson said in a statement. “I was deeply inspired and touched by Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal story and her ongoing fight for democracy, and hope that through this film her cause and voice will be better known and shared with audiences around the world."

Rome organizers said that Besson, Yeoh, and co-star David Thewlis will all be on hand for the premiere.

The festival concludes Nov. 4.