Cambodian Film Festival Hopes to Keep The Flame Alight

Cambodian-made films, new and old, will be featured during a 10-day film festival that starts tonight with one film at the Reyum Gallery, but will expand to multiple showings at three locations.

The festival will includes director Rithy Panh’s “The Rice Pe­ople,” as well as a film by King Noro­dom Sihanouk and several classic fantasy-adventure flicks from the 1960s by Ly Bun Yim.

All 12 films will be shown in Khmer, with several subtitled in English or French. There is no charge for viewing. The festival was organized by the Depart­ment of Cinema at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

“This program intends to prove that [the] Cambodian film industry has not disappeared, and that it may develop in the future,” organizers said in a statement.

Tonight’s film at the Reyum Gallery, 47 St 178, will be “Kh­mers After Ang­kor,” a serious look at Cam­bodian marriage traditions directed by Ly Bun Yim in 1971. The movie begins at 5:30 pm.

The director, best-known for compelling fantasy-adventure movies featuring as­ton­ishing special ef­fects, tells the stories of schoolmates—one rich, one poor—who fall in love with the same girl.

Three films will be shown Sat­urday, beg­in­ning at 2 pm at the French Cul­tural Cen­ter, 214 St  184, with “Twelve Sisters,” also by Ly Bun Yim. The 1968 film, which will be also shown at 5 pm, is a tale of ogresses and ghosts with some stomach-churn­ing mo­ments.

At 5:30 pm, Ly Bun Yim’s 1965 classic, “Sapp­seth,” will be screen­ed at Reyum. It tells the tragic story of two sparrows who suffer a horrifying loss, leading the male to plead to the gods for help. It also will be shown at 2 pm and 5 pm Sunday at the French Cultural Center.

At 6:30 pm Saturday, “Blood of Rocks” will be shown at the Russian Center of Science and Culture, 103 Norodom Blvd. Shot this year by Sok Sophal, it’s a dire warning of the bad things that can happen to those who loot Cam­bodian art works.

King Noro­dom Sih­anouk’s “Sha­dows Over Ang­kor,” film­ed in 1968, will be shown at 5:30 pm Sunday at Reyum.

The tale of a nefarious plot to overthrow the throne stars the King, Queen Nor­o­dom Moni­neath and various officials. It is subtitled in French and will be shown again Oct 29 at the French Cul­tural Center.

Other highlights include (see Calendar, page 16, for times and locations):

• “Shadow of Darkness,” directed by Yvon Hem, 1988. The late Piseth Pilika stars in this story of the terrible fate of a doctor’s family during the Khmer Rouge regime.

• “Legacy of the Dead,” by Mao Ayuth, 1991. An old man and his family return to Phnom Penh after the fall of the Khmer Rouge and discover treasure.

• “The Rice People,” by Rithy Panh, 1994. A rice farmer, his wife and their seven daughters endure hardship and then tragedy. English subtitles.

• “Mine Village,” by the Assoc­iation of Khmer Film and Video Makers, 1996. A girl who must work to support her father and brother, crippled in a mine explosion, is sold to a brothel through trickery. English subtitles.

• “Man in the Storm,” director Chheng Daravuth Kosal, 1998. When soldier Sam Oun’s wife gives birth to their son, she discovers she has AIDS. How did she get it? What will they do? English subtitles.

• “Women and Labor,” director Som Khemara, 1999. A poor girl seeks a factory job in Phnom Penh to help her family and ends up a beer girl, but keeps her dignity.

• Shorts produced by Unicef include “The Child Who Had No Name” and “This Is My Life,” both subtitled in English; and “Quiet Place 1&2,” “Bamboo Shoots,” and “Beer Girl.”


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