Skip to main content

ANGKOR AWAKENS: A PORTRAIT OF CAMBODIA review

2017
Directed By: Robert H Liberman



ANGKOR AWAKENS: A PORTRAIT OF CAMBODIA offers an intimate look at a country who has reached a political and cultural tipping point. We are shown the current state of Cambodia through the veil of the country’s brutal history. Living in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide (1975-1979) we see a nation, whose people are fighting to reconcile their past while demanding change for their future. 

The present-day repression in Cambodia lives on as a reminder of the country's not too distant past, but a new generation of  Cambodians are demanding change for their country and its people. The film is comprised of deeply personal interviews, including one with Prime Minister Hun Sen. 

Operation Menu, the codename for a secret bombing campaign conducted by the US in Cambodia between 1969 and 1970 set the stage for the rise of the Khmer Rouge. An organization who is best remembered for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide. Combing elements of Marxism with an extreme version of Khmer, nationalism, and xenophobia the Rouge's ideology was a powder keg waiting to be ignited. 

Director Robert H. Lieberman’s first-hand experience with the Holocaust has led him to explore the effects of the genocide on today’s young Cambodians. He said he was"initially drawn to Cambodia because I was curious to see if there were any lingering effects of the Khmer Rouge genocide in today’s young people. I was determined not to make a doom and gloom movie. Rather, I wanted to provide a sweeping portrait of the country, its people, and history, its politics and psychology. Of course, there was no way to avoid Cambodia’s darkest period."

The most illuminating interview in the film is with Hun Sen, Cambodia’s Prime Minister who apparently rarely gives interviews. That conversation offers a chilling look at the source of the current oppression facing the Cambodian people. Choosing to shoot the film himself, with available light, Liberman creates an environment comfortable enough for his subjects to open up in a deeply personal manner. His intention "is that this is a story of hope and recovery told through the Cambodian people— the young and old, artists and teachers, politicians and just plain ordinary people."

We as an audience are forced to come to grips with Nixon and Kissinger’s secret bombing and incursion into this neutral country that helped set the stage for the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Sadly ANGOR AWAKENS is an important and enlightening reflection of our current political climate. 

Popular posts from this blog

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

LAFF Review AND THEN THERE WAS EVE

2017
Directed By: Savannah Bloch
Starring: Tania Nolan, Rachel Crowl, Mary Holland, Karan Soni, John Kassir, and Anne Gee Byrd



Alyssa (Nolan) wakes up to find her home pillaged and her husband missing. The burglars have taken everything, down to the photos of her husband. The police offer little help so she turns to a friend of the family Eve (Crowl) for assistance. The film is less of a "who done it" and more of a "what happened."

The prolonged second act of the film focuses on the relationship between Eve and Alyssa. The suspense of the film lingers in the background while their relationship grows. In fact, clues of what is to come are clearly laid out in a way that allows the viewer to see where the film is headed before it gets there. I'm not sure if this is by design but the effect of having the stories trajectory clearly laid out gives the audience permission to accept this blossoming relationship.

Nolan and Crowl both give stunning performances that anc…

BFF review SWEET PARENTS

SWEET PARENTS review 2017
Directed By: David Bly
Starring: David Bly and Leah Rudick
Written By: David Bly and Leah Rudick

Moving to New York City with ambitions of making it as an artist is an uphill battle. Hell, moving to New York with ambitions of breaking into fast food is an uphill battle. Exorbitant rent makes it difficult if not impossible to get a temp job while you audition, paint, write, or sculpt. And paying $28 for an artisan PB&J not only has a heavy tax on your pocketbook, over time it can carry a greater burden on your soul. Spending tons of money to only feel like you are barely keeping your head above water is a crushing way to exist.

SWEET PARENTS is the story of a young couple who have been living the artists struggle in NYC for close to 8 years. Will has dreams of making it as a Chef and Gabby wants to become a professional sculptor. Both start side relationships, as last ditch efforts to support their careers, in what becomes a choice between ambition and lo…