A former child refugee from the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in the 1970s, filmmaker Kalyanee Mam returns to her native land to create a vivid, compassionate and moving picture of the vanishing world of rural Cambodian farmers and fishermen. With a patient and attentive camera, Mam tells the story of three different families struggling to maintain their traditional ways of life as the modern world closes in around them. Mam’s cinéma vérité style is enhanced by the deep intimacy and trust she has gained from her subjects after over two years of filming in remote locations. With elegance, warmth and an eye for the natural beauty and rhythms of daily village life, Mam reveals how the rice farmers outside Phnom Penh are no longer able to make a living, the fishermen are catching fewer and fewer fish each year and the farmers of the northeastern jungles are running out of arable land due to increasing deforestation. Just as the Tonle Sap River shifts seasonally and changes its course, the ancient traditions and lifestyles of rural Cambodians are being lifted and washed away in the currents of the new century. This gentle and visceral film transcends the studies and statistics to present a deeply personal portrait of the cost of these changes.
This is a Cinema by the Bay Film.