Watch Angkor Awakens: A Portrait Of Cambodia
- 1 hr 30 min
Angkor Awakens: A Portrait of Cambodia is a documentary film that explores Cambodia's troubled history from the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge to the struggle for democracy in contemporary Cambodia. The movie is directed by Robert H. Lieberman and features an array of interviews with individuals who share their personal experiences of living through the country's turbulent past.
The film transports viewers to Cambodia and gives them a glimpse into the country's rich culture, its natural beauty, and its enduring spirit of resilience. It also examines Cambodian history through the lens of the Khmer Empire, which built the vast temple complex of Angkor Wat in the 12th century.
The film's opening sequence takes place at Angkor Wat, where the camera slowly glides over the intricate stonework of the ancient temple. We then meet some of the Cambodian people who will guide us through their country's history. Among these are Cambodian-American poet Kosal Khiev, who spent years in prison under the Khmer Rouge, and filmmaker Chhay Bora, who directed the first Cambodian film to be shown in Cannes. Their voices are essential to the film's narrative, providing a personal perspective on Cambodia's recent past.
The film then delves into a brief but harrowing history of the Khmer Rouge regime, which lasted from 1975 to 1979. The regime was led by Pol Pot, who sought to create a society where agriculture was the dominant economic activity. He expelled city dwellers, intellectuals, and anyone perceived as a threat to his revolutionary vision. Over two million people died during the regime's reign, either from starvation, disease, or execution.
The film's interviews with survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime offer a rare insight into the horrors that occurred during this period. Their stories are often heartbreaking, yet they speak with remarkable courage and dignity. We hear from a woman who lost her entire family to the Khmer Rouge, a man who was forced to keep watch over mass graves, and a couple who were imprisoned and abused in a Khmer Rouge "re-education" center.
The film then shifts its focus to Cambodia's struggle for democracy, beginning with the 1993 UN-sponsored elections. The election's winner, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was ousted in a coup a year later, and Cambodia was plunged into years of political instability. The film examines the challenges faced by the country's fledgling democracy, including corruption, poverty, and a lack of access to education and healthcare.
Despite these difficulties, the film also celebrates the resilience of the Cambodian people. We meet a group of young breakdancers who have found a sense of freedom and expression through dance, and a man who has turned his life around after struggling with drug addiction. We also see how Cambodia's traditional arts, such as dance and music, are being preserved and celebrated by a new generation of artists.
Throughout the film, the stunning cinematography showcases Cambodia's natural beauty, from the lush jungle landscapes to the vibrant markets of Phnom Penh. The visuals are complemented by a haunting score that features traditional Cambodian instruments, and a powerful narration by Golden Globe-winning actress Angelina Jolie.
The film concludes with a message of hope, as we see how Cambodia is slowly rebuilding itself after years of conflict and turmoil. The country's economy is growing, and there is a sense of optimism among many of its people. While the scars of the past are still evident, the film is a tribute to Cambodia's enduring spirit and the resilience of its people.
In conclusion, Angkor Awakens: A Portrait of Cambodia is a must-watch documentary that offers an insightful and moving exploration of Cambodia's history and culture. It is a testament to the power of film to educate, inspire, and ultimately, to help heal the wounds of the past.
Angkor Awakens: A Portrait Of Cambodia is a 2017 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 81.