A movie based on the lives of two popular Cambodian actors killed during the Khmer Rouge regime—and starring the married couple’s son—has been gripping Phnom Penh audiences since its premiere Saturday.
After only four days at Bokor Theater, more than 5,000 moviegoers had lined up for “Parentless Blood,” the story of 1960s
film stars Chea Yuth Than and Som Van Sodany, said director Sveng Socheata of One Star Production.
“I filmed the story at the places where scenes happened, and I also asked permission from the couple’s relatives to film
this movie. In particular, I
chose the son of these popular stars to perform,” Sveng Socheata said.
Som Van Sodany died of overwork about three months after her son’s birth. After her death, her husband Chea Yuth Than was shot by Khmer Rouge forces while attempting to visit his son, Than Tharith.
Than Tharith escaped to a refugee camp on the Thai
border after the regime fell. He later graduated from the mathematics faculty at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and became a high school teacher in Siem Reap province.
Than Tharith’s performance as his father and then as himself in adulthood is particularly moving, film viewers said. “It was a kind of sad story that caused me to cry as I watched,” said Roeung Kanika, 27.
Than Tharith, 29, now a member of staff at the Ministry of Education and the father of four children, said he has received calls from several viewers, telling him they were moved to tears by his parents’ story.
“I miss my parents every day,” he said Wednesday.
Sveng Socheata said, “I filmed this story because I would like people to understand that although Than Tharith is an orphan, he never betrays others. He fights against all obstacles to become a man of integrity.
“Not all orphaned children are glue-sniffers, robbers or impolite children.”