An elegiac film structured around absence, Davy Chou’s documentary commemorates the glory years of Cambodian cinema, spanning roughly 1960 until 1975. During this decade and a half, some 400 movies were made, almost all of them destroyed by the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, which also killed or forced into exile several prominent actors and directors. Chou, himself the grandson of Vann Chan, one of the most notable producers during Cambodian cinema’s heyday, speaks with filmmakers and performers who survived this brutal era, including Dy Saveth, a screen legend who starred in almost 100 films—and who now works as a dance instructor. With precious little extant footage from this time to include in his project, Chou instead asks his interviewees, whether those who worked in the industry or cinephiles, to recall in detail movies last seen four or five decades ago, thus bringing to life works that have long since been erased. These profoundly affecting remembrances of plots, actors’ faces, and movie houses register as nothing less than a vital act of recuperation in a nation riven by unfathomable loss and barbarity.
While Golden Slumbers spotlights Chou’s discovery of his filmmaking lineage, the young filmmaker is clearly looking to the future.
A séance of sorts, summoning the spirits of films past and finding remnants in the present through the reminiscences of surviving filmmakers and actors and, poignantly, through song.
—Center for Asian American Media
Ly Bun Yim
Ly You Sreang
Official Selection – Berlinale, New York Asian Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival (2012)
LANGUAGE French, Khmer
RUNNING TIME 96 min
PRODUCTION France, Cambodia, 2012
FORMAT(S) HDCam, Blu-ray, and DVD
$200 to $350 pending format
*Fees for screening rights are negotiable and may depend on: format, size of screening room, whether admission will be charged, etc. Check with each distributor and make sure to mention your participation in Tournées in your negotiation.