a talk show with Mr. Jacky Goldberg who produced the film, titled “Golden Slumbers”
The film “Golden Slumbers”, a French-Cambodian joint production, was screened on Nov. 22. The film was directed by Davy Chou, a Cambodian born in France after his parents immigrated there in 1975. His grandfather was a famous Cambodian film producer and Mr. Chou had the desire to be involved in filmmaking since he was a small child.
Phnom Penh served as the filmmaking capital of Southeast Asia from the 1960’s into the mid-1970’s. The Pol Pot regime completely destroyed the film industry, with nearly all of the 400 films that had been made being destroyed and only some 30 films surviving to the present day. Through this valuable documentary, the director seeks to recover the lost film history of his homeland and awaken the films from their “Golden Slumbers”.
After the screening was a talk show with invited guest Jacky Goldberg who produced the film. He was interviewed by Hidenori Okada from the Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. The discussion was extremely interesting as it touched not only the many aspects of the work of “maintaining a record of the films” such as the filmmaker’s own involvement in collecting and storing the films, but also the tasks involved in reconstructing film history through items other than the films such as theaters, posters and personal testimonials.
The producer and director wanted to make a movie set against the backdrop of the director’s native Cambodia, resulting in them forming a company through which they have produced each other’s works.
Director Davy Chou lived in Cambodia for a year to learn the Khmer language and find persons to provide interviews, after which production started in 2011 with one month of shooting footage.
The film was first screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012 with the five Cambodians who served as the main interviewees for the film in attendance. Three Cambodian films were also shown for the first time.
The film has also garnered attention in the filmmaker’s country of France where it has been shown in theaters and on television.
The film shows almost no images from the few remaining films but rather uses items other than film such as paper documents, radio broadcasts, and the music used in the films to tell the story. This is due to the filmmaker’s desire to not rely on images from those films but rather to make the viewers use their imagination when watching the documentary. He wants the viewers to reconstruct the films in their own minds.
The interviews with two movie fans are especially important, as Mr. Goldberg recounted the stunning admission of one that, “I don’t remember my parents’ faces but I do remember those of the movie stars.” What was lost and what remains of a destroyed culture. Your imagination is free. The filmmaker wants you to use the film to look inside yourself.
Davy Chou is a director who is always making films that look towards the future and is currently filming a full-length feature.“Golden Slumbers” will make you further examine the “present” and the “future”. We look forward to his next film.
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