Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rock and roll update

It was fortunate timing that I caught up with film director John Pirozzi last night at Meta House and briefly chatted to him about his forthcoming film, Don't Think I've Forgotten. He's in Cambodia right now to finish shooting for the film, he's got the necessary financial backing to complete the project and will return to the States soon to edit and complete post-production. With a fair wind, he hopes to get the film out by May or at the latest June. Don't Think I've Forgotten is the story of Cambodian rock and roll of the '60s and '70s that captured the hearts of this nation but came to an abrupt end when the Khmer Rouge took over and killed the majority of its stars. Pirozzi's film will celebrate Cambodia's own musical heyday, which has once again risen in popularity, particularly with the emergence of the band Dengue Fever, who Pirozzi himself has helped to promote with his film, Sleepwalking Through The Mekong.
It will be a full-length feature (90 mins) and he is really keen to get it shown over here in Cambodia as early as possible. It just so happens that he's a Cambodia nut, like a lot of us, and tries to spend a couple of months here each year. I asked him to spill the beans about the film knowing full well that he wouldn't, but at least he threw me a few scraps of information such as the film will include a few recreated scenes, as well as interviews with survivors and their relatives. In researching a subject like music in most countries it would be straightforward in picking through the archives, talking to old stars, finding rare recordings and so on. However, in Cambodia, there's none of that. Effectively, all the film footage was destroyed, all the stars that shone so brightly like Ros Sereysothea and Sin Sisamouth were singled out and killed. So its been a tough job and that's why its taken a while to complete the project, together with the usual problems that independent filmmakers have with funding issues along the way. However, Dengue Fever's success across the globe has given new impetus to the music and a real buzz of nostalgia for the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of Cambodia's rock and roll generation which will soon be on the silver screen for all of us to enjoy. Link: Film website.

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