The People of Angkor

Director Rithy Panh turns his attention from Cambodia's deadly past (last year's S21: Khmer Rouge Killing Machine) to its uncertain present in this portrait of the legendary temples of Angkor and of the people paradoxically creating a future out of its ruins. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor's spectacular complexes provide a haunted stage for the laborers, peddlers, and holy men who exist within them. Workers piece together shards of statues and give voice to the stories carved upon the stones (if they can agree on what each image means, that is). Monks meditate in bullet-marked temples and narrate the histories of their gods. A farmer tours the murals with his fighting cock, revisiting the glories of old kings. For this “lost” city's inhabitants, Angkor's tales are never finished, its sculptures never silent. Intermingling their stories as subtly as a whisper, Panh creates a document of modern Cambodia, his camera carving out new legends with each story told.

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