‘Vanished’ Aims To Raise Bar for Cambodian Cinema

In “Vanished,” the latest movie from Khmer Mekong Films, radio presenter Maly, played by actress Savay Sakana, has all the ans­wers on the air. But when two of her co-workers disappear, she has to get to the bottom of the mystery before she becomes the next victim. 

Everyone is a suspect, and the people Maly thinks she can trust are always changing as she investigates and uncovers more questions than answers.

The 90-minute murder mystery is filled with twists, a bit of humor and English subtitles.

The subtitles “will make it easier to enter it into international festivals,” said Khmer Mekong Films founder and executive director Matthew Robinson, adding that they may also draw in more foreign movie watchers.

After releasing a romantic comedy, Mr Robinson said the company looked to tackle another genre for its second full-length feature.

While “Vanished” is a murder mystery, the film uses suspense, not gore or shock, to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

“We wanted a contemporary drama with identifiable characters, recognizable locations, a modern story,” he said.

The film opened Friday at the Sorya Theatre with two sold-out 2 pm showings and strong sales for the other showings after a heavy marketing campaign on CTN, which will broadcast the movie in about six months.

Mr Robinson said most Khmer films are made for around $20,000 and although he wouldn’t say ex­actly how much “Vanished” cost, he said it was between $20,000 and $100,000.

“Vanished” also distinguishes itself by avoiding voice dubbing and by using a musical score that was written especially for the movie, Mr Robinson added.

Filming took place over six weeks in various locations around the capital, which Mr Robinson said helped add a Cambodian influence to the universally used movie structure.

“It’s a new movie in their own language in their city that will grip them,” he said.


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