Davy Chou (left) with his main characters, Yvon Hem, Dy Saveth, Ly You Sreang and Ly Bun Yim
It was sad to see that much of the Golden Age of Khmer cinema from the Sixties and Seventies remains only in the memory of a few survivors from that time. But Davy Chou's 90-minute documentary Golden Slumbers
shines a light through the window of time onto a fifteen year period where more than 350 films were made, Phnom Penh audiences flocked to thirty cinemas, nearly a dozen film studios flourished and fifteen leading actors were the gods of the silver screen. All that ended with the arrival of the Khmer Rouge in 1975, actors and directors were executed, cinemas destroyed, and the film prints themselves, mostly lost forever. In this documentary, shown tonight for the first time in Phnom Penh at Legend Cinema as a part of the international film festival, we were privileged to recall those heady days through the testimony of a handful of survivors, three filmmakers and one of the leading ladies. But at times it was a painful experience for the main characters to recall their moments in the limelight, some forty years ago. Their lives forever changed by history.
Dy Saveth is the living embodiment of the glamour and style of those glory days of the Sixties and Seventies. She is the most famous Cambodian actress of all time. After being crowned Miss Cambodia in 1959, she starred in her first film two years later. She collaborated more than ten times with male lead Kong Sam Oeun over a five-year period from 1965 though her greatest roles were perhaps alongside Chea Yuthorn and filmmaker Tea Lim Koun. Dy Saveth made nearly 100 films, including 10 with King Father Norodom Sihanouk and even launched her own film studio producing 17 films, before moving to France in May 1975 and escaping the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge. She returned to live in Cambodia in 1993 and has made a significant contribution to rebuilding the Cambodian film industry. Joining her in recounting the Golden Age in Davy Chou's film were filmmakers Ly Bun Yim, Yvon Hem and Ly You Sreang.
Dy Saveth recalling her memories of the Golden Age of Khmer film
Director Yvon Hem had his own studio called Dragonfly
Labels: Davy Chou, Dy Saveth, Golden Slumbers