A Cambodian Spring

SA Premiere International Feature

Brooklyn International Film Festival 2017 - Best Documentary

Hot Docs Canadian Int. Doc. Festival 2017 - Best International Documentary

A complex, but engrossing, detailed narrative of a community’s struggle over many years to protect their land and homes from rapacious development and environmental degradation. Though the struggle recounted is in Cambodia, it is a universal one. The faces of the politicians and the developers are entirely male, the faces of the resistance are largely female, although a brave and stoical Buddhist monk is a major exception.

All the tricks of power are used to isolate, denigrate and divide the protesters. Politicians buy off the religious leadership and the monk is temporarily gagged with threats of being defrocked. The women are humiliated, the police are heavy-handed and thuggish, and the campaign is hijacked by opposition politicians with an eye to an upcoming election. In the end there is a messy compromise, in every sense of the word, and an emotional reunion across the community divisions.

The film intersperses images of environmental damage with images of human suffering, bureaucratic bombast and close ups that emphasize the strength of the human spirit.

Cape Town
V&A 6
Tue 5 June / 6pm
Labia 3
Sat 9 June / 8.30pm
Thu 7 June / 8.30pm
Christopher Kelly
126 minutes