The Burnt Theatre

In the center of Phnom Penh sits the Preah Suramarith National Theatre, once a glorious institution and symbol of a modern, prosperous Cambodia. It now lies abandoned, gutted by fire, in the shadow of a glitzy casino being constructed next door. It is to this burnt theater, with its ghosts living and dead, that director Rithy Panh brings a coterie of actors to live and rehearse. He asks them how to rebuild their country when the transmission of culture, so essential to identity, is almost impossible, and the blinding force of capitalism so powerful. An astonishing blend of documentary, fiction, and performance, The Burnt Theatre is built with the dramatic arc of a narrative film and the intimacy of a documentary. Panh fuses these components into a remarkable document of survival and resilience, confirming his status as one the world's most eloquent filmmakers.

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