The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Ghosts of Cambodia

You'd think that the people of a nation like Cambodia, scene of the man-made horrors of Pol Pot's genocidal reign, wouldn't need the supernatural to give themselves the chills. Well, as it happens, you'd be quite mistaken:

Vampire and ghost stories top the bill as Cambodian film festival opens PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodia's struggling film industry -- undergoing a revival after being obliterated by communist rule in the 1970s -- opened its second national film festival Monday with vampire and ghost stories dominating the competition entries. Nine of the 22 entries were horror movies, but government leaders told local stars and producers gathered for the film festival preview that if they want to succeed, they must steer away from superstition and move toward realism. Filmmakers should choose themes "more relevant to reality in Cambodia," if they want to succeed, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said in the festival's opening speech.
Leave it to a politician to pontificate on what's relevant to reality, eh? (the wanker) Regardless, this is a pretty big deal: it has been almost 15 years since Cambodia's last national film festival. I tried Googling for the film festival's official site, but came up blank... It might be in Khmer only, so that English googling comes up snake eyes. It might also be that there just isn't that large of a Cambodian presence on the web - the only sites I could find through Google were some tourism sites based in Vietnam or Thailand, some Japanese government sites, and some ex-pat sites run by Cambodians abroad. It may be a combination of these factors. Whatever the reason, I'm sorry; I don't have anything to which I can directly link. That's really a shame - I was curious to see if the films are Western homages or if they are based in Cambodian folklore and legend.


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