Cambodian filmmaker uses fiction to teach facts about Khmer Rouge(Read article summary)
One Cambodian filmmaker thought a popular film about the Khmer Rouge regime might reach a wider audience than the numerous documentaries and tomes that exist on the subject.
Courtesy of Chhay Bora
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
â˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
Chhay Bora had never been to film school, but his first movie, âLost Loves,â made a Cambodian-American girl cry and an official from the Ministry of Culture collapse as he walked back to his seat after the screening.
The first feature film about the Khmer Rouge by a Cambodian director and actors in more than 20 years tells the story of the film directorâs mother-in-law, who lost her husband, brother, father, and three children during the regime.
Mr. Bora said he made the feature for young Cambodians who donât read foreign books or watch documentaries â and some of whom doubt the killings and starvation took place.
âCambodian-Americans and French Cambodians write a lot of books and produce a lot of documentaries, but those films donât really have an impact among Cambodian people,â he said. âDocumentaries donât seem real when people watch them; they cannot imagine what [it was really] like.â
Bong Chanraingsey, an 18-year-old student, held back tears after a screening at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh. âIf I didnât watch it, I wouldnât believe that itâs a true story that happened in Cambodia,â he said.
âLost Lovesâ is the second film about the Khmer Rouge by a Cambodian director to come out in the past year (following the documentary âEnemies of the Peopleâ). â âLost Lovesâ [tells the story of] one of the victims, who can present all of us to the world,â says Bora, who hopes to bring his movie to the United States.