In Angkor’s Children, Lauren Shaw acknowledges the horrors of the Khmer Rouge while finding hope in young women (and their adult teachers) who see dedication to the arts as a path out of despair. Inspiring without leaving the viewer feeling manipulated, it should play well on the fest circuit and marks a strong directing debut for Shaw.
“Angkor’s Children” is a story of hope and determination in the face of horror, the horror of war and of the ‘Khmer Rouge time’ in Cambodia. Along with the numberless lives lost, there was a very real possibility that a centuries-old culture (and culture is what makes people, individuals, into a People) would die with them, that a nation would no longer know itself. “Angkor’s Children” tells how and why it hasn’t been allowed to die, and how traditional arts can revive, come to terms with modern life, and thrive. It’s a heartening example of the irrepressible will to live. I recommend it.
“Angkor’s Children” captures the quiet power of culture to revive a nation. This isn’t white-bread global culture of reality shows and social dramas that can be seen anywhere. These young Cambodians reach back to the extraordinary thousand- year old Cambodian culture – its song, dance, artisanship, acrobatics – to learn from the few surviving masters and tell modern Cambodian stories. Anyone concerned about preserving and celebrating peace in a country torn by war should see this documentary.
A deeply stirring and beautifully crafted evocation of the ways in which the power of creativity can build bridges between past and future generations, carrying with it renewed hope and dignity for performers, spectators, and potentially for a nation itself.
Lauren Shaw’s “Angkor’s Children” is an inspiring journey through the small villages and rice fields of Cambodia, leaving us with a sense of hope for this country still traumatized by the brutal genocide of the 1970s. Beautifully filmed, authentic, and powerful in the voices of its young female leaders, “Angkor’s Children” is a testament to the healing power of art and to the resilience of the human spirit.
Angkor’s Children is a lovely film which I think has a wider application beyond just the Cambodian community. It’s a story that has to be told over and over.