Kawthoolei - Land of Flowers 1
Anavaj from Bangkok and Max from Berlin have been best friends for 10 years. As dedicated environmentalists and
adventurers they have travelled a lot together in Southeast Asia. This film is about the experiences they made on their
quest for Anavaj's missing stepfather Phu yai Weng.
Phu yai Weng is the headman of a family clan of Karen, an ethnic nationality of 7 Million people living in Burma and
Thailand. At the age of 80, he enjoys a legendary reputation in Kawthoolei, "the land of flowers", homeland to the Karen
along the Burmese frontier. He is a renowned elephant-charmer and WW2 veteran of the jungle wars against the
Japanese and the Burmese and lives as a forest-hiker and hunter in the jungle. He belongs to a generation of Karen,
whose knowledge of culture and respect for their environment is in danger of dying out with them.
Anavaj led a Karen life at the side of his stepfather Phu yai Weng in the jungles of Kawthoolei. They were oblivious to
border demarcation or the civil war raging in Burma until the Burmese army forcibly relocated their village to
a military camp site. They refused to obey and got separated in the melee. This was more than 20 years ago.
The increasingly tense military, ecological and ethnocultural situation in Kawthoolei causes Anavaj
to fear for Phu yai
Weng's life and so he asks his friend Max to accompany him with his camera in the search for his stepfather.
Venturing into the rugged Thai - Burmese border mountains is tricky, as access is strictly forbidden to
danger are not the last tigers and elephants that roam Kawthoolei, but human beings at war. Battalions of underfed child
soldiers of the Burmese military dictatorship SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) are fighting Karen rebels of
the KNLA (Karen National Liberation Army) in their 53rd year of struggle for self-determination. The place is heavily
landmined. How Anavaj, Max and their cameraman, To, intend to find Phu yai Weng in the largest forested nature reserve
on the Southeast Asian mainland remains the question.