Review: White Building

Cambodian filmmaker Kavich Neang’s White Building repeats a sage piece of advice, for when the going gets a little tough: when in need, dance.

The film begins with our primary character Samnang, or Nang (Piseth Chhun), and his two buddies practicing a synchronised hip-hop dance routine for a competition, and they’re not at all bad. It helps offset the gloom — the gorgeously coloured and lit gloom, it must be said — that ends up consuming this impressive debut fiction feature, a companion piece to the director’s well-traveled 2019 documentary Last Night I Saw You Smiling (also about the sale of his family’s piece of social housing, and local gentrification more generally).

The film premiered earlier this week in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival, and it will play in BFI London Film Festival’s First Feature Competition next month.

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