The history of Cambodia and its Royal Ballet are tightly intertwined. Outlawed by the Red Khmers in 1975, the ancestral dance was nearly forgotten. Today, the Ballet is one of the main ways of asserting Khmer national identity. We are going to tell how and why…
Classical Khmer dancing is a form of bodily expression as gracious as it is codified. Each of its movements means to convey the magic circle of Life poetically – a seed becomes a tree which produces fruits containing seeds.
A striking alternation between cycles of grandeur and decadence, decline and renewal has also marked the history of Cambodia, taking a tragic turn in the 1970s with the Khmers Rouge.
The film will reveal the untold history of the country through this dance which had hardly crossed the walls of the palace and was restricted and changed under the communist regime.
Alternating between past and present, we see the ballet’s movements and postures take us to a world of mystery and splendor, gradually becoming the key to reconstructing national identity and a source of fascination for international audiences.
Today, with the new surge the country knows under Chinese influence, Cambodia’s political elite has started to understand what an asset the Ballet can be when it comes to projecting the image of a more opulent and thus stronger nation. Hardly any high-level form of art has been used for political ends to this extent.