Monday, November 3, 2014

Contest: "Don't Think I’ve Forgotten" @ Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Don't Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll at Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Saturday November 8, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

The internet has expended the reach of crate diggers who have been unearthing musical gems from around the world. But when we get caught up in the exoticism of cool sounds from Somewhere Else we can easily forget the music was recorded by real people caught up in sweeping cultural changes. John Pirozzi's Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten takes one of these rock'n'roll offshoots — Cambodia's explosion into the psychedelic stratosphere in the late 60's/early 70's — and roots it in that country's turbulent history.

Under Westernizing régimes, Cambodia embraced modernism in many forms, but seemed to have a particular gusto for music that slipped in from colonizers France and the U.S.A. The twang of The Shadows was adapted to traditional melancholy songs, as was every new fad right up to blistering psychedelic rock. It all came crashing down during the brutal years of Khmer Rouge rule, when all vestiges of "impure" culture were swept away with genocidal zeal.

Combining new interviews with well-chosen period footage (and not stinting on the music), the film gives us the depth to push beyond experiencing these songs as mere novelties on a foreign-language compilation, and to consider the power of art — and the power of memory — in society.

It is, after all, rock'n'roll, so you should be able to enjoy Yol Aularong, Pen Rân or Liv Thek straight-up. But to know who these people were, what they were singing about and what happened to their country will deepen your appreciation — and honour their memory.


The film is screening on Saturday November 8, 2014 @ 4:00 pm at The Royal with director John Pirozzi in attendance. Tickets and more info are here.


Courtesy of the festival, I have two pairs of tickets to give away.

To enter, shoot me an email to, with "contest" in the title and your name in the body — or if it's easier, you can enter with a retweet on twitter or a "like" on facebook. I'll randomly draw a winner on Thursday, November 6th at noon.

N.B.: Hitting the "Like" button below is appreciated — and encouraged! — but does not constitute contest entry, given that I have no way of knowing who pressed it.

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