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Music Documentary Inspires Cambodian Youth

  • Im Sothearith
  • VOA Khmer

The Cambodian musical documentary “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten,” examines Cambodia’s lost rock and roll.

It recently screened in Phnom Penh, where audiences said it brought a different light on Cambodia’s tragic past.

The film looks into the burgeoning music scene in a newly independent Cambodia, before the country fell into civil war and a Khmer Rouge takeover.

Men Sonita, a blogger and freshman at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, told VOA Khmer that the film had taught her something of Cambodia’s past.

“Two points that attracted me most were the gathering of cyclo drivers in front of the national radio station to listen to music, and that people were carefree and listening to music and dancing happily even when the war broke out,” she said.

The film also helped her understand a flow of history that is missed in high school curriculum, she wrote in her blog. That included the characters involved, their backgrounds, and information about the Cambodian music industry, “and about their tragic lives in the Khmer Rouge regime.”

The film examines the influence of foreign music on Cambodia’s heyday, but it also highlighted the talent of Cambodian musicians, she said.

“I don’t like Cambodian contemporary music that much,” she said. “Neither the music nor the lyrics are nicely composed. It confirms what I’ve heard: that in the past, musicians died before their music did, whereas now, the music dies before the artists.”