Cambodia’s Foreign-Language Oscar Hope Deals With Stories and Songs That Define Genocide Generation

'In the Life of Music,' co-directed by Caylee So and Sok Visal, traces romance before, during and after the murderous Killing Fields of the Communist Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s.

Caylee So grew up with the pop music of 1970’s Cambodia without fully understanding the tragic history that surrounds it.

She was raised in Long Beach, California, home to the largest Cambodian community outside the country itself. So’s parents had fled the genocide inflicted by the Communist Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s that saw the deaths of more than a million people in the Killing Fields.

Her elder sister had held on to memories of their homeland through the pop songs that defined a golden era of music in Cambodia that was brought to a sudden and bloody end by the Khmer Rouge and their reign of terror. So would listen as a child, too, but she only came to know the murderous fate met by many of the singers, and of her own family members, much later.

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