Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The silver screen

If you haven't heard about the 1st Cambodia International Film Festival, taking place in Phnom Penh from 20-24 October, then you are in for a real treat. Not only is there a large selection of feature films from around the globe, animations, short films and documentaries, there is a heap of Cambodian films that will be shown to the public at large for the first time. In addition, there are tributes to directors Rithy Panh and Mao Ayuth and lots more besides. In fact, there's way too many films to be shown at the festival for me to cover here so below is just a selection. The screening venues include Chenla, Lux Cinema, Bophana and the French Cultural Center with the opening and closing ceremonies taking place at Chaktomuk, where the Cambodian Space Project will also be performing live.
The films that caught my eye included Lost Loves by Chhay Bora, which is based on the true story of the life of Madam Lev Sila during the Khmer Rouge years, Vanished from Khmer Mekong Films, as well as two 1990s productions from the Cinema Department of Cambodia, Nostalgia by Chheng Sovanna and The Secret Contract by Seng Setha. Rithy Panh's Rice People (1994) and One Evening After the War (1998) will get an airing, as will Mao Ayuth's The Memory of the Heart (1983) and The Last Word (1992). Short documentaries from five young Khmer filmmakers will be shown, as will films about Cambodia from foreign directors such as a film I saw at Bophana a few months ago, The Wanderers by Christine Bouteiller. All in all it promises to be a very hectic and exciting event for film lovers here in the capital. And I will return from the Mekong Delta just in time to enjoy it. Result.

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