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Archive - 12th Five Flavours Film Festival

In the Life of Music

Cambodia, USA 2018, 92’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: Caylee So, Sok Visal
screenplay: Caylee So, Dane Styler
cinematography: David D. Rivera, Rojas
editing: Frank Martinez
music: Gavin Keese
cast: Ellen Wong, Sovuthy Ker, Kimkhorn Kuch, Sreynan Chea, Vannarith Phem, Picherith Morm, Ratanak Ben
producer: Prach Ly, Caylee So, Neardey Trinh
executive producer: Brian Lee, Luis Martinez
production: Innovision Pictures
language: Khmer, English
colouration: colour

Awards and festivals

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2018 - Best Director; Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2018 (Nominee)

Film description

Young American, Hope, is going to Cambodia to meet her mother's best friend from the days they were young. She arrives to the small village and tries to understand her parents' past. Hope was born when her mother was still in one of the Khmer Rouge's labour camps, not long after they managed to emigrate to the US. Young woman gradually reconstructs the events, centering around a song “Champa Battambang” made famous by 1960s legendary Khmer pop singer, Sinn Sisamouth. That song was playing when her parents first met at the village fair just before the coup d'etat destroyed the world they lived in. "Champa Battambang" helps Hope to search for her roots and get to know more about her already deceased parents.

"In the Life of Music" presents three events in three different times (1968, 1976, 2007), all of them prove decisive for the life of an individual but also reflect shared experience of two generations. First one are the young people, who lived through coup d'etat and Khmer Rouge atrocities. Then their children, who grew up in Khmer diaspora all over the world and often decide to go to Cambodia to understand their parents' past and reconstruct the country's history through family memories, because a lot of cultural texts, documenting the times from 1953 till the end of Khmer Rouge regime, no longer exist. Three different decades reflect three whole different realities, linked together by the main motif - a pop song "Champa Battambang" and Sinn Sisamouth - both being symbols of the world, that is irrecoverably lost. 

Maja Korbecka

Caylee So

Born in 1981 in a refugee camp in Thailand, just after her parents escaped from the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. When she was just three years old, her family immigrated to the United States. In 2011 she completed her first short film, "The Lonely Hour" and year later she received her MFA degree in Film Production at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, graduating with special honours. She was awarded the Director’s Guild of America’s 18th annual Best Female Student Director. Caylee So is also the co-founder of the Cambodia Town Film Festival, an honorary committee member of the Cambodian International Film Festival, the founder of film production company Innovision Pictures. "In the Life of Music" marks her full-feature debut. 


2011 The Lonely Hour (kr. m.)

2011 Testigo Ilegal (kr. m.)

2012 Rupture (kr. m.)

2012 Paulina (kr. m.)

2014 Chpaa: a Medical Mission (kr. m.)

2018 Melodia życia / In the Life of Music 

Sok Visal

Born in 1971 in Phnom Penh, he is the founder of the KlapYaHandz hip hop and alternative music label, as well as film, television and advertising production company 391 Films afterwards re-named 802AD Films. Alongside Quentin Clausin he co-directed his first full-feature film in 2013, a gangster comedy "Gems on the Run". His first independently directed title was Cambodia’s first LGBT comedy "Poppy Goes to Hollywood" which was selected by Busan IFF 2017. Sok Visal also served as the director of Chaktomuk Short Film Festival 2015 and is the Motion Picture Ambassador for Cambodia for the Luang Prabang Film Festival. 


2013 Kroab Pich / Gems on the Run

2017 Poppy Goes to Hollywood

2018 Melodia życia / In the Life of Music

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