Friday marks the end of the weeklong “China Today” arts festival, which was held to celebrate 55 years of diplomatic relations with Cambodia and featured dance and acrobatic performances as well as film screenings.
Sponsored by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the festival was inaugurated in 2004 to promote contemporary Chinese culture and art abroad, and this year was the first time the event has been held in Cambodia.
“The aim of the event is to celebrate the 55th anniversary of China-Cambodia diplomatic relations while further promoting cultural ties between the two countries,” said Cao Yuguang, deputy chief of the state-run organization’s international liaison department.
A troupe of more than 40 Chinese artists took the stage at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theater to perform traditional songs, dances and acrobatics on Monday and Tuesday night.
As part of the festival, six Chinese films—“The Smile of Angkor,” “The Piano In a Factory,” “Mother,” “Love On Gallery Bridge,” “Thangs Ka” and “Immortal Love”—are showing at the historic Lux Cinema until today. All are free of charge and are dubbed in Khmer for the event.
Filmed at the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap province, “The Smile of Angkor” was the first Chinese-made movie filmed exclusively in Cambodia and director Shen Rong has expressed her desire to broaden her country’s friendship with Cambodia.
“Cultural exchanges can promote mutual understanding between people as well as cooperation and common development between different civilizations and nations,” Chinese Ambassador Bu Jianguo said in her speech at the festival’s opening ceremony on Monday, which was attended by government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
“The cultural exchanges between China and Cambodia, by pushing forward cultural advancement and peaceful development of China and Cambodia, is playing a vital role in the China-Cambodia traditional friendship,” she said.
The festival represents another step in a long-term strategy to evolve Chinese-Cambodian relations, said Tan Sovan Oudom, the senior official in charge of international cultural cooperation at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
And, in another gesture of solidarity, 30 Cambodian performers will travel to the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Qingyang from November 18 to 27.
“We will bring documentary films about Cambodian culture, tourism and music, and 13 traditional Khmer bands and dancers,” Mr. Sovan Oudom said.
China is Cambodia’s largest foreign investor and a major donor to the country.