Archives / 2013 Sundance Film Festival

A River Changes Course

Film Still

Director: Kalyanee Mam

Institute History

  • 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Description

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.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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