Embattled Ranariddh Releases First Feature

While Funcinpec struggles to define its future after a disappointing performance in the February elections, party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh is releasing his first feature film.

The 90-minute movie “Raja Bori,” will make its Cambodian debut Saturday night at an invitation-only gala at the Chaktomuk Theater. It is in Khmer with English subtitles.

The prince follows in the footsteps of his father, King Noro­dom Sihanouk, who made nearly 20 movies in a 30-year film career that was interrupted by the war.

After the 1970 coup that toppled him from power, the King  was criticized for having paid too much attention to movie-making and too little to affairs of state. He has always said that the purpose of his films was to showcase Cambodia to the world.

In a brochure promoting his film, Prince Ranariddh pays tribute to his father’s achievements, saying “he has always protected and defended our arts and culture, our heritage, independence, sovereignty, and the territorial integrity of Cambodia—those things that I portray in my film.”

“Raja Bori,” or Royal City, was filmed at the Angkorian temples in Siem Reap province, and tells the story of a sculptor and a girl who meet at Angkor Wat. Its theme is the grandeur of the Khmer cultural heritage and the need to protect it.

“The purpose of the film is to teach the people to love Khmer artifacts and prevent them from looting,” said Noranarith Anan­dayath, undersecretary of state for the Council of Ministers and an adviser to the prince.

In the brochure, Prince Rana­riddh writes that he wishes to honor the great Cambodian kings, and especially the great builders Suryavarman II and Jayavarman VII. He also wants the world to know Cambodia is about more than war and suffering. “People only [know about] Khmer Rouge, land mines, and destruction,” he writes.

“People have not seen the most beautiful images that Cambodia possesses: beautiful temples, rich in history and tradition, arts and culture.”

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