Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Memory! festival aims to foster a love of cinema in Cambodia



Memory! festival aims to foster a love of cinema in Cambodia

Memory! festival aims to foster a love of cinema in Cambodia

17 Rithy Panh

Charlie Chaplin will share the limelight with His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk during tnext week’s Memory! International Heritage Film Festival.

Organised by Bophana Audiovisual Centre in conjunction with Technicolor Foundation, a Paris-based organisation that preserves and restores old films, the festival aims to promote cinematic awareness in Cambodia.

“We want to educate young Cambodians, young and old, to see the importance of the successful films in the past and to keep it as heritage, just like in many developed countries,” said Rithy Panh, co-founder of Bophana and winner at the 2013 Cannes Films Festival for his film The Missing Picture.

Panh also said the festival hopes to promote watching movies on the big screen.

“We hope that this will give the experience to young Cambodians to feel the excitement of being in a real theater. It’s different from watching it on a laptop.”

The theme for this year’s festival, which the organisers plan to repeat next year, is dance. Consequently, musicals such as Robert Wise’s West Side Story, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain and Jean Renoir’s French Cancan dominate the festival.

Panh said that although it is hard to predict how Western classics will be received locally, he hopes that they inspire Cambodians to experiment with cinema.

“Of course, we are afraid how they will like West Side Story,” said Panh. “But maybe someone will make the Cambodian West Side Story.”

In order to garner enthusiasm, the festival organisers have chosen to fuse some of the movies with modern pop culture with Khmer-American rock band Dengue Fever performing at the festival along with French video jockey Alexandre Elkouby at Koh Pich on June 5.

“It’s not a concert, it’s a cine-concert.” said Séverine Wemaere, head of the Technicolor Foundation. “We want to find an entry point for people who would not see the movies, who think they are boring.”

However, it is not just Western films that will be shown at the festival. Films by Ly Bun Yim, one of Cambodia’s most important pre-Khmer Rouge filmmakers, and King Father Sihanouk, who dabbled extensively in filmmaking, will also be screened.

Wemaere said that the festival also highlights the worldwide need to properly protect old films from deterioration.

“Films are physically endangered all over the world,” said Wemaere, who added that 90 per cent of silent movies are considered lost. “It’s the case in France, the United States, Romania, Cambodia, Thailand, and so on.”

Memory! International Heritage Film Festival runs from June 1-9, with screenings taking place at Chaktomuk Conference Hall and at the Bophana Audiovisual Centre. Workshops and lectures will also be held at Institut Français from 10am on June 3-5. Admission is free.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’