Three young men look to forge their own paths in the fast-developing Kingdom of Cambodia in French filmmaker Jessé Miceli’s keenly observed debut feature. Employing non-professional actors and an entirely Cambodian cast, what follows is a coherent and engaging story of a nation struggling to maintain its cultural identity, and a trio of youngsters hoping to establish themselves within this fast-moving economic current.
It has been more than 40 years since the Khmer Rouge ended its reign of terror, and another 27 years since the kingdom’s monarch was restored. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has seen a number of surrounding countries benefit from this far-reaching economic infrastructure development strategy. Cambodia has been one such beneficiary. Its capital Phnom Penh, as well as the port town of Sihanoukville, have expanded exponentially in less than a decade.
Understandably, impoverished locals are eager to get in on the action, flocking to these urban centres of commerce and tourism, where there is plenty of opportunity to make some fast cash, provided they don’t mind bending to the whims of the visiting crowds.