Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Moving fish

Yon Chantha, all bulging eyes, big grin and high energy levels in last year's Movin' production
A couple of events this week that have caught my eye at Meta House, at their Sothearos Boulevard location, here in Phnom Penh. This Thursday (3 February), which just happens to be the start of the 3-day Chinese New Year, which isn't an official holiday but lots of people will treat it as such, will see a 20-minute film by journalist Tom Fawthrop at 8pm that deals with the concerns over the future damming of the Mekong River. It's the premiere screening of his 2010 film Where Have All The Fish Gone? That is followed by Peter Degen's hour-long 2006 documentary on Cambodian fishermen called When The Flood Recedes. Prior to both screenings there will be a performance of classical western music by the Bueckeburg Trio, playing Bach and Haydn. The following night, Friday (4 Feb at 7pm), theatre director Bob Ruijzendaal is back in town to present a short series of dance performances with help from New Cambodian Artists. These will be from a project titled People in Buildings and will be followed by a screening of Movin' which the same collaboration produced last year and performed to positive acclaim at Sovanna Phum. I recall how much fun it was to watch Belle and the manic expressions of Yon Chantha amongst others. See them for yourself.
Some great news for a close friend of mine. Kim Fay was the series editor for my book To Cambodia With Love and the editor and author of the To Vietnam With Love and Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam books. Her debut novel, In Yellow Babylon, an historical epic set in the Far East in the 1920s including a big chunk in Cambodia, has been bought by publishers Ballantine. I know how hard Kim works at her writing and I was honoured when she asked me to review an early draft of In Yellow Babylon, so I know how good this book is. I can't wait to see it in print.

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Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Kim Fay published this brief description of her book on her website. The book is called In Yellow Babylon and will be published by Ballantine Books in the spring of 2012.

About In Yellow Babylon:
In 1925 Shanghai, a city of ambiguous ethics where nothing is what it seems, Irene Blum arrives to convince Khmer scholar and temple robber Simone Merlin to help her find a set of copper scrolls believed to contain the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer empire. United by a deep passion for the Khmer, the women commit a surprising act of violence. But as they flee to Indochina, they begin to realize that their hidden motives for finding the scrolls are strongly opposed. Traveling from Saigon to Phnom Penh, they are joined by Irene’s lover Marc Rafferty; Louis Finot, a curator for the Cambodian temples; and the dying Henry Simms, the Svengali who raised Irene and sent her to the Orient. Together they head for the jungle, where each discovery reveals that their pasts are entwined in ways they never could have imagined. Opposed by a self-serving French government official and local tribe enlisted to protect the country’s great treasure, they fight their way toward their goal, where Irene learns that finding the scrolls means not only solving the puzzle of the Khmer history, but also discovering the history of her own life.

February 3, 2011 at 11:15 PM  

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