Golden Slumbers

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Le Sommeil d’or

Golden Slumbers is an elegantly assembled and deeply moving remembrance of Cambodian cinema.” — Richard Kuipers, Variety

Director: Davy Chou
Year: 2011
Country: Cambodia, France
Running time: 96 mins

Producer: Jacky Goldberg
Photography: Thomas Favel
Editor: Laurent Leveneur
Music: Jérôme Harré
In Khmer and French, with English subtitles

With: Ly Bun Yim, Dy Saveth, Yvon Hem, Ly You Sreang, Ouk Silayouth, Lim Vong Thavy, Sohong Stehlin

Festivals: Busan 2011; Berlin, San Francisco 2012

The colourful phantoms of a once thriving national cinema in Cambodia are summoned through the reminiscences of the few filmmakers and actors who survived the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror. Though no film print survived, we see how the popular culture persists in the memories of filmgoers, and, most poignantly, through the songs that remain staples in Phnom Penh’s karaoke bars. This beautifully crafted reclamation is the work of the young grand-nephew of a former industry great.

“All that remains are fugitive traces of printed ephemera and soundtracks of curling orchestral ballads and psychedelic nuggets – and the memories of those people who made or relished the films and survived Pol Pot… Davy Chou’s gliding Phnom Penh interludes and spaciously staged interviews reflect the influence of Jia Zhang-ke and Tsai Ming-liang… but these cinephilic touchstones never overwhelm the personal, defiant accounts of moviemaking at the heart of the film. Ever after is the tragic refrain of Chou’s film, but the once upon a time is as golden as he says.” — Max Goldberg, San Francisco Bay Guardian

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