First Feature Competition
Remarkably nuanced and emotionally engaging, Kavich Neang’s film delves into the impact of gentrification in Phnom Penh and pays homage to the enduring memory of the iconic White Building.
Davy Chou, Marine Arrighi de Casanova, Jia Zhangke
Kavich Neang, Daniel Mattes
Piseth Chhun, Chinnaro Soem, Sovann Tho
Cambodia-France-China 2021. 90min
Les Films du Losange
With English subtitles
Aspiring dancer Samnang and his family are part of a close-knit community in the White Building – a prominent apartment block and cultural landmark of the Cambodian capital. They find their lives suddenly shattered by the news of their home’s impending demolition, to make way for a new development. Things are made even worse when, fighting against the inevitable, Samnang’s father develops a mysterious illness; yet in the struggle they find solidarity, even joy. Following the acclaimed documentary Last Night I Saw You Smiling, Neang’s fiction debut is a triumph of economic and inventive storytelling. The subdued, naturalistic performances fuse wonderfully with the dramatic narrative and nonfiction elements to create a truly captivating testament to ‘home’ and a hymn of resistance to urban displacement.
Hyun Jin Cho
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