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Launch of “Kon. The Cinema of Cambodia”

October 16, 2010
Director Yvon Hem and cinema painter (and cover designer) Lim Keav, our guests of honour

Director Yvon Hem (left) and cinema painter (and cover designer) Lim Keav, our guests of honour

Last night, we finally launched “KON. The Cinema of Cambodia”, the magazine I did with my students at the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Next week, it will be available at Monument Books, the International Book Center, the Peace Book Center and the bookshop at the French Cultural Center for only $ 1,50.

It turned out to be one of the best-attended at the new Meta House, a cultural center in Phnom Penh, so far.

We entertained our audience with clips of some of the most outreagous scenes from films from the “Golden Age of Khmer cinema” in the 1960s, plus some rare material, such as an interview from French television with director Rithy Pan from 1994 (when his first feature film “Rice People” was shown at the Cannes Film Festival), and some hilarious outtakes from Crepuscule by His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk.  Perhaps the most intense material was a propaganda movie from the Khmer Rouge period.

Our guest of honor included director Yvon Hem, who started his career in the early 1960, and made the first Cambodian feature film after the Khmer Rouge in 1985, and cinema painter Lim Keav. Mr. Lim used to do the huge posters and marquees that adorned Phnom Penh’s cinemas until digital printing put an end to this honorable craft. He painted the picture that is now the cover of our magazine, see below.

Kon. The Cinema of Cambodia

Kon. The Cinema of Cambodia

The magazin has articles on the “Golden Age of Khmer Cinema” in the 1960s, the present situation of the local film industy and the propaganda films of the Khmer Rouge, profiles of actress Dy Saveth and director Poun Phoung Bopha, statements by directors Mao Ayuth and Ly Bun Yim, a list of the 10 Khmer films you need to know, and a letter from His Majesty, King Father Norodom Sihanouk, that made us especially proud.

The evening was so much fun and so well-attended that I am wondering if we should do this again, probably in other locations, too. If you want to invite us, drop me a line at mail @ tilmanbaumgaertel dot net.

See some shots of the launch below.

PS: A brief piece on the magazine from the Phnom Penh Post is here.

Group picture!!!

Group picture!!!

Another group picture!!!

Another group picture!!!

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Guest of Honor Yvon Hem and Lim Keav with students

Guest of Honor Yvon Hem and Lim Keav with students

Your hosts for the evening

Your hosts for the evening

A chess game with human pawns in "Preah Tinavong"

A chess game with human pawns in "Preah Tinavong"

The audience at Meta House

The audience at Meta House

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