Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Year Baby UK Premiere

Well, technically, the premiere was in Milton Keynes the previous evening, but Oxford played host to only the second UK screening of New Year Baby yesterday, as part of the OXDOX film festival, and I have to say, its an excellent film. Great credit to the team of Socheata Poeuv and Charles Vogl (and another great team behind them) for producing a moving and enriching 75-minute documentary as Socheata herself, uncovers family secrets that had lain dormant for 25 years. As we are treated to Socheata and her family's personal journey into their roots, the real hero of the story is revealed as Socheata's father, who with typical Khmer sense of humour and humility, steals every scene in which he appears. The return to the Khao-I-Dang refugee camp and the 'birth' ceremony towards the end of the film were very powerful moments, as were the revelations from Socheata's adopted sisters, and few will get through the film without shedding a tear or three. There was also an unexpected animation section in the film, which I thought worked perfectly. Socheata's nickname is 'the lucky one' and she is, to have parents of such strength and character and a wonderful family who, as typical of so many Khmer families, have been through so much, survived and have become stronger as a consequence.

You can read a lot more about the film at their website and can still catch the film in London tomorrow night (Tuesday) at The Renoir. I hope the film gets taken up by one of the tv channels as its a powerful and personal story that needs to be seen by a much wider audience. It was also good to meet Richard Chappell at the showing, who's responsible for bringing over the master musician Kong Nay from Cambodia, who will play at the WOMAD festival in late July, and who is also arranging for other performances around the country, together with a showing of another excellent documentary, The Flute Player. Watch out for the dates for this unique opportunity to see a living Cambodian master musician. If you want to book the film & performance between 22 July and 5 August, email Richard here.


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