CAMBODIAN MOVIES & WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM

Most people will have seen Cambodia in the Hollywood blockbuster Tomb Raider or in the classic drama The Killing Fields. Films made by Cambodians themselves are less well known. The country had a booming cinematic scene until the Khmer Rouge years. Since the eighties, the industry has slowly recovered. The grandmaster of modern Cambodian cinema is undoubtedly documentarian Rithy Panh. His Bophana film centre in Phnom Penh is a great place to start to see Cambodian movies and learn more about its history.

 

TOP 3 MOVIES TO WATCH FOR TASTE OF CAMBODIA

Modern Local Movie – Jailbreak (2016)
Unfortunately, most contemporary made-in-Cambodia films are low-budget horror flicks. This movie is part of an effort by French-Cambodian producer Loy Te to revitalize Cambodian cinema and move away from simple ghost stories. Slickly produced and genre busting, Jailbreak is a celebration of what Cambodia has to offer.  Alongside Ly stars Tharoth Sam and Our Dara, famous Bokator fighters, who play local police officers. As they attempt to deliver Playboy to the prison, they run into an onslaught of problems from characters hell-bent on assassinating Playboy. These include the burly Sisowath Siriwudd, who plays a gang leader inside the prison, Butterfly, and “the cannibal”, a gargantuan deranged inmate with aggressive and peculiar culinary tastes.

 

Classic – Killing fields (1984)

The Killing Fields is a 1984 British biographical drama film about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, which is based on the experiences of two journalists: Cambodian Dith Pran and American Sydney Schanberg. It was directed by Roland Joffé and produced by David Puttnam for his company Goldcrest Films. The film was a success at the box office as well as being an instant hit with critics. At the 57th Academy Awards it received eight Oscar nominations; including Best Picture. It ended up winning three, most notably Best Supporting Actor for Haing S. Ngor, who had had no previous acting experience. At the 38th British Academy Film Awards, it won eight BAFTAs, including Best Film and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Ngor.

 

Hollywood – First They Killed My Father – directed by Angelina Jolie.

The movie is scheduled for release in 2017. Based on the novel by Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father tells the story of Ung, who is five years old when the Khmer Rouge assumes power. When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army storm into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung’s family fled their home and moved from village to village to hide their identity, their education, and their former life of privilege. Eventually, the family dispersed in order to survive. Because Loung was resilient and determined, she trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans whilst other siblings were sent to labour camps.

 

THE BEST OF CAMBODIAN MOVIES

The first foreign film shot in Cambodia was the Peter O’Toole vehicle Lord Jim in 1964. Since then the country has hosted many international film projects. As local films are often not widely available (with subtitles), here are some more recent international films shot in the Kingdom:

  • Lara Croft: Tom Raider (2001) directed by Simon West.
  • Holy Lola (2004) directed by Bertrand Tavernier
  • Deux frères (2004) directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
  • Barrage contre le Pacifique (2008) directed by Rithy Panh (based on the novel by Marguerite Duras)
  • Same Same But Different (2009) directed by Deltev Buck
  • I Have Loved (2011) directed by Lai Waijie and Elizabeth Wijaya
  • Wish You Were Here (2012), directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith
  • Songs From The Mekong (2012) directed by Steve Northcott
  • La folie Almayer (2010) directed by Chantal Akermann
  • The Road To Freedom (2010), directed by Brendan Moriarty

 

WHERE TO SEE MOVIES IN PHNOM PENH
  • Legend Cinema in Samdech Monireth Boulvard (street 217)
  • Major Cineplex in Samdach Sothearos Blvd (2nd floor AEON mall)
  • Legend cinema 3rd floor of New Steung Mean Chey Market, Veng Sreng Blvd
  • Legend cinema TK avenue 315 St 516
  • Platinum Cineplex in 35-37, 5th Sorya Shopping Center, 214 St 142
  • The empire movie house, bar & restaurant, 34, Street 130, Khand Daun
  • The Flicks Community Movie Theaters, 39b, Street 95
  • The Flicks 2, 90 Street 136, Oknha In
  • The Flicks 3, 8 Street 258, 57
  • Bophana Center, 64, 200 Oknha Men St. (street 200)
  • Meta House, 37 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (street 3) – here they often screen Cambodian movies and documentaries

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