Cambodian with English subtitles, 2012, 83 minutes, color, Cambodia/U.S.A., World Documentary
In her feature directorial debut, Kalyanee Mam, the cinematographer for the Academy Award–winning documentary Inside Job, explores the damage rapid development has wrought in her native Cambodia on both a human and environmental level. Rural communities, used to reaping the bounty of their mountainous jungles and lush rivers, have witnessed their forests being cleared, land becoming scarce and costly, and fishing stocks rapidly depleting. No longer able to provide for their families, and often accruing massive debt as a result, many Cambodians have been forced to leave their rural lives behind to seek employment in the industrial factories of Phnom Penh.
Following her subjects for more than two years, Mam achieves a profound intimacy with them as they confront these challenges in this stunningly shot vérité portrait. Unable to pursue an education, and forced to separate from their families, they find it hard to imagine a better future when they can barely survive in the present. - B.T.
About the Director
Having escaped war-torn Cambodia in 1979, lawyer-turned-filmmaker Kalyanee Mam seeks to combine human rights and law in creating documentaries that are both captivating and inspiring. Mam’s past work includes the 2011 Academy Award–winning documentary about the global financial crisis, Inside Job, where she served as cinematographer, associate producer, and researcher, and her first documentary short, Between Earth & Sky. She directed, produced, and shot this film, which follows the hopes and struggles of three young Iraqi refugees.
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