Cambodia

Marcel Camus – L’oiseau de paradis AKA Bird of Paradise AKA Dragon Sky (1962)

One of the rare Western films to take advantage of the spectacular setting of the temples at Angkor in Cambodia, L’Oiseau de Paradis is directed by Marcel Camus. The tale itself is relatively simple. A beautiful dancer has two admirers – one is a young worker whom she has only met by accident, and the other is an unscrupulous businessman. The worker had been training as a Buddhist monk and as his interest in the dancer and the businessman’s pursuit of the woman develop, the dancer and the former monk end up at the archaeological site of Angkor. There, Buddhists still worship in the temples and it is in this setting that the businessman kills them both. Reincarnation being accepted as truth in Cambodia, the story implies that the ill-fated young couple would be joined together in the future. Read More »

Davy Chou – Diamond Island (2016)

Bora, an 18-year-old, leaves his village to work on the construction sites of Diamond Island, a project for an ultra-modern paradise for the rich and a symbol of tomorrow’s Cambodia. He befriends his fellow workers and finds his elder brother, the charismatic Solei, who went missing five years earlier. Solei introduces him into an exciting world, that of an urban and wealthy youth, its girls, nights and illusions. Read More »

Rithy Panh – Exil AKA Exile (2016)

Exil is a visionary narration of the exile of Cambodians during the Red Khmer regime, during which the country was renamed Democratic Kampuchea. Read More »

Rithy Panh – Les tombeaux sans noms AKA Graves Without a Name (2018)

In Rithy Panh’s latest exploration of the lasting effects of the Cambodian genocide, a 13-year-old boy who loses most of his family begins a search for their graves.Cambodian-born, France-based filmmaker Rithy Panh has dedicated much of his career to investigating the campaign of genocide undertaken by the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian Civil War and memorializing its victims.

Official submission of Cambodia for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 91st Academy Awards in 2019. Read More »

Angelina Jolie – First They Killed My Father (2017)

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Synopsis:
Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung recounts the horrors she suffered under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge.

Review:
In the Western world today, the Khmer Rouge are remembered first and foremost as a Communist organisation – true enough, but simplistic enough that key components of their ideology get overlooked. Among these is their obsession with the idea that children – raised with as little education as possible to keep them ‘pure’ – should determine Cambodia’s future. Their idolisation of children not only contributed to some of the worst abuses that took place under their regime, but highlighted the problems at its core. Despite their supposed innocence, some children were considered more equal than others. Read More »

Régis Wargnier – Le temps des aveux AKA The Gate (2014)

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Synopsis
Two decades after forging an unlikely alliance in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, a French ethnologist and a former Khmer Rouge official meet again after the latter is arrested for crimes against humanity.

“Le temps des aveux” is based on the true story of a French ethnologist who was captured by the Khmer Rouge in 1971. Read More »