November 28, 2005


Peter Chan's PERHAPS LOVE made its North American premiere over the weekend, and even won an award. How'd that happen? It happened in utmost secrecy at the Queens International Film Festival where PERHAPS LOVE picked up the "Best Foreign Film" award as Xinhua crows, "...beating out five other nominees." Of course, the fact that those five nominees were actually four nominees and they were the lightweights PAHELI (India), THE LAND HAS EYES (Fiji), LOVELORN (Turkey) and A WONDERFUL NIGHT IN SPLIT (Croatia) is just an annoying reality check that only a real killjoy would mention.

Meanwhile, Cambodia is just about to spring its 2nd Annual Film Festival, and 9 of the 22 entries are horror movies. This didn't sit well with the Prime Minister who, in his opening speech at the festival, said Cambodian filmmakers will only succeed if they choose subjects  "more relevant to reality in Cambodia." And that's a whole different kind of horror movie.

Anyone who knows anything about Cambodian horror movies, sing out and share your brain with the rest of us.

November 28, 2005 at 09:21 AM in News | Permalink


yeah - how come the always reliable (and much loved) subway cinema blog didn't cover the 'QIFF'?

Posted by: su-su | Nov 28, 2005 2:35:51 PM

Honestly, I had no idea it was even going on.

I am so out of the loop it's not even funny.

But from now on I'm going to buckle down and I promise to score a 1600 on my SATs!

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Nov 28, 2005 3:54:07 PM

i wonder if cambodia will do an angelina jolie retro.

Posted by: fake guy | Nov 28, 2005 6:46:26 PM

I went to see PERHAPS LOVE at that screening after seeing the weekend movie listing on the Gothamist. It was shown in a small screening room at the Kaufman Astoria studio and I was very surprised that only 15 people showed up and I was one of the two Asians in the audience.

LOVE doesn't come anywhere closed to HE'S A WOMAN, SHE'S A MAN or COMRADES and it's too serious at times for a movie that takes place (almost entirely) on a movie set, especially so because the first spectacular musical number is a beautiful homage to both SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG that caused me to expect something along the lines of a tragicomic romance. But it works well as a simple old-fashioned, full-blooded love story where the "dull" reality is contrasted with the colorful "interior" movie-within-a-movie musical numbers that really got to me a few times. At the very least, it's much better than THE AGE OF MIRACLES. :-)

Posted by: Dave Cheung | Dec 1, 2005 7:59:32 PM

Regarding the Cambodian 2nd Annual Film Festival: Okay, from what I know of the current (not years ago) Cambodian government, they're doing some pretty good work in an uphill battle trying to fight poverty in the country, trying to end human rights abuses that have been there for a long time, etc. so I'm going to try not to get too bent out of shape by the PM's remarks. But it came off a bit, uh, pompous? Of course to have a fully flourishing movie field (I dislike the term 'movie industry') they do need to hit all the levels and genres, and maybe some types like dramas, comedies, family films, action movies, etc. could stand to be a bigger part of the picture. But there's no reason why horror movies shouldn't or couldn't be a robust part of the field. As a horror fan, I think the whole realm of horror movies gets too little credit. And there's a huge range of horror movies that are both financially successful and just plain Great coming out of Asia, that are suceeding not just in their country of origin but all over Asia and increasingly all over the world. All you have to do is look at the box office charts of countries geographically close to Cambodia - like Malaysia and Thailand - to realize what a keen interest the people over there are showing in the regional horror output. It's just a matter of time before these films break out and start getting the worldwide profile movies from Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea are getting. "The Eye", aka "Jian Gui", a HK-Thai co-production had worldwide success, opened at # 1 in Italy, and achieved the difficult task of being greatly received by both horror die-hards and non-horror fans alike. So there's no reason the Cambodian horror movies can't be an important and vital part of the nation's emerging field as a whole.

Now, can some distributor or importer pick up the rights for some of these - as well as the hard-to-find-outside-of-Asia movies (horror and otherwise) that are being produced in the Phillipines, Malaysia, etc. - so that we can start seeing these movies for ourselves and supporting these countries's fledgling film fields?

To paraphrase an Anime distributor's motto, "World Peace Through Shared Culture"

Posted by: Roverto | Dec 5, 2005 6:59:12 AM

Roverto, I hear you. Right now it looks like horror movies from Asian countries have wide appeal and seem to be what US distributors are picking up. But Cambodia (if I'm remembering my history correctly) was a communist country until the early 90's and communist countries are generally opposed to culture that promotes superstition or the fantastic. China is only now allowing a few horror movies to be made (but I don't think ghosts are allowed) and the Soviety Union wasn't too big on them either. So this may be the result more of some left-over old school habits.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Dec 5, 2005 10:04:16 AM

pretty funny, my parents are actually watching some cambodian horror films at this very moment. definitely nothing compared to other asian horror films but it's great that they're paving way for their own.

Posted by: soso | Jan 1, 2006 10:27:13 AM

Although being French, living in a Paris suburb and not speaking a single word of Cambodian, I bought one of thei films on DVD recently and have the intent to order more in the future (as I make for Malaysian, Indonesian, Tagalog, etc. motion pictures). Being a fan of horror movies since 1952 (!) I ordered a film called "Plerng ches arb" ("Burn the Witch"). It was an interesting little picture dealing with the female creature known in Thailand as "krasue", in Philippines as "manananggal", in Indonesia as "penanggal", etc. It's a flying woman's head with hanging intestines, you can remember movies like "Demonic Beauty", "Witch with Flying Head", "Manananggal sa Maynila", "Mystics in Bali" and others, it's the same monster.
My only regret is the absence of details about the date of the film, the director, the actors, etc. and the absence of subtitles. Of course, these people are credited on the print itself, but if you can't read the language...
When Thai producers begun to produce informations in English on their films (it could be simply a "bonus" in the DVD, with complete credits readable by anyone), and put subtitles on their films, the Thailand became one of the successfull Asian movie producers in every part of the world... I wish the Cambodians make the same thing.

PS - sorry for the broken English...

Posted by: Jean-Claude MICHEL | Sep 7, 2006 5:52:47 AM

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