Special Section: Dialogue on Archiving

When a society that endured a historic calamity heads towards recovery, can the recorded image continue to convey people’s memories? Particularly relevant questions in this image-saturated era include the moral dilemmas about reviving traumatic memories and showing young audiences explicit images.

The Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center opened in 2006 in Phnom Penh. When three decades of conflict and war in Cambodia ended in 1992, the nation’s film culture had almost entirely been lost, including the over 300 films from the country’s golden age of cinema. Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture), who as a child had escaped genocide and become an acclaimed filmmaker in France, envisioned an institution to protect Cambodia’s audiovisual heritage—a family album of a nation’s people. With support from the French government and in collaboration with Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, it took him ten years to co-found Bophana Center.

Bophana Center not only collects and restores old film from the past, but is active in organizing film screenings, training new filmmakers, and running other educational activities to spread and root film culture among the country’s young population—70 percent of who are under 30 years old. The two films shown in this program are by young filmmakers who trained at the Center to become some of the country’s most accomplished filmmakers, acclaimed around the world.

In this section of the “Cinema with Us” program, we will learn about Bophana Center’s activities and discuss them in conjunction with issues of cultural disconnection and regeneration following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.

Fujioka Asako

- Red Wedding

CAMBODIA, FRANCE / 2012 / Khmer / Color / Blu-ray / 58 min

Directors: Chan Lida, Guillaume Suon
Producer: Rithy Panh

Under Khmer Rouge rule in the late 1970s, over 250,000 women were forced to marry its soldiers. After thirty years of silence, a woman decides to tell of her torment publicly in court. What can cinema do for her, as she prepares to speak?

- Where I Go

CAMBODIA, FRANCE / 2012 / Khmer / Color / Blu-ray / 55 min

Director: Neang Kavich
Producer: Rithy Panh

Pattica is an 18-year-old young man. His father, who he never knew, was a Cameroonian soldier who served in the peace-keeping forces of the UN Transitional Authority in 1992–1993, during the first elections after the war’s end. Discriminated for his dark skin and being born out of Wedlock, Pattica confronts the problem of how to create a future for himself.