This soulful, heavy hearted drama tells a tale of gentrification and community displacement in Cambodia. It’s a fictional story about the real-life White Building, an iconic modernist apartment block built in 1963 in the centre of Phnom Penh and demolished in 2017.
The film’s director, Kavich Neang, has a personal connection: he grew up in the White Building and opens his film with an extraordinary drone shot that floats above the building’s roof. From this angle the mosaic of chipped tiles and rusted corrugated sheets looks strangely beautiful: a metaphor perhaps for the White Building itself, which is crumbling and not fit for habitation, but still home to a vibrant diverse community, everyone happily jostling in the corridors.
Neang’s story is about a boy’s coming of age as his family is evicted.