Movie Version of Traditional Tale Opens Monivong Theater

The lurid tale of 12 sisters who marry a king only to have their eyes drilled out and awarded to a jealous giant returns to the big screen Wednesday with the open­ing of the new Royal Sound theater on Monivong Boulevard.

The 100-seat theater becomes the second cinema to open on Mo­nivong in the past year, partially reviving the moviehouse culture that flourished in Phnom Penh before the Khmer Rouge regime.

“We wanted to help uphold the Khmer culture and movies,” said Prou Sokchea, general manager of Royal Sound Company Ltd.

The new theater, just south of the intersection of Mo­ni­vong and Street 184, will be inaugurated to­day with an invitation-only showing of Rithisen Neang Kang Rey, a remake of the popular 1960s film produced by Ly Bun Yim and his Flash Diamond Films Co Ltd.

The story chronicles the tale of 12 sisters who marry a king. A female giant also loves the king and in a fit of jealousy transforms herself into a normal-sized wo­man, incites the king to gouge out the sisters’ eyes, then has them thrown in jail.

The giant keeps the sisters’ eyeballs at her palace under the supervision of her daughter, Kang Rey.

Sequestered in a cave, the sisters each give birth to a child. They are hungry and eat their babies, except for the youngest sister, who still has one eye and quails at the thought of eating hu­man flesh. She hides her baby boy, named Rithisen, who later retrieves the stolen eyeballs.

The romance doesn’t stop there. Kang Rey falls in love with Rithisen, chasing him over rocks until she slips, falls, dies and be­comes a mountain called Phnom Kang Rey, located in Kompong Chhnang province.

Producer Ly Bun Yim has shown the film in several locations around the world, including Cam­bodian communities in the US.

The two-hour movie was finished two months ago. It will be shown four times daily.

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