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Development at a high price

A Cambodian Spring
Regissør: Chris Kelly
(UK)

The government of Cambodia is tightening its grip on power every day. The highly tense situation makes the documentary film A Cambodian Spring all the more gruesome.

It makes quite a sense to move around a city with the knowledge that the next time you pass by, that building or building is probably gone. Remaining might be a monument of emptiness and relic of the life lived in the lost building while waiting for construction machinery, building materials and investments in limbo; maybe a new building will already cover what was here before, or maybe a skeleton of concrete populated by working women and men with fabric wrapped around their faces to protect against sweat and dust will testify that people are biting day and day. day in just for others to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is one such city. A city full of dust and sweat and aircon and comfort, where history is something that is manipulated into the morning for which a few have decided.

So-called development. The documentary A Cambodian Spring is about what happens when the land poor people live on gets value for someone who already has more than enough. And about what happens when poor people refuse to accept that they must – over and over again – be forced out of the place where they try to make a living connected to all odds.

Director Chris Kelly has filmed the film over six years, in Phnom Penh and in a rural area of ​​Cambodia. The film follows the residents of Boeung Kak Lake and their struggle to preserve their homes and communities in the capital, where the ruling party has given a powerful developer permission to fill Boeung Kak Lake with sand so that expensive homes and malls can be erected.

Kelly opens the film with the information that 1993 was the year in which the UN organized the first democratic elections in Cambodia after decades of civil war – and organized the country as one. . .

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Nina Trige Andersen
Trige Andersen is a freelance journalist and historian.

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