University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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Old Traumas and New Challenges: The Idiosyncratic Fall and Resurgence of Cambodian Feature Film Production

30 October 2013 (15:30-17:00)

The School of International Communications is pleased to invite you to our research seminar series. The talk is by Professor Adam Knee, School of International Communications, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China.

About the talk

Although local Cambodian feature film production had a minor revival roughly concurrent with that of other Southeast Asian film industries in the early 2000s, especially in the wake of the Thai co-production Snaker, production dropped off almost completely by the decade's end. 2012 and 2013, however, have seen a notable rise in home-grown feature productions, especially in the horror genre, owing to a varied group of distinctive local factors, including the individual efforts of a number of Cambodian producer-directors. This presentation will open with an account of the uncertain and idiosyncratic industrial conditions of present-day Cambodian film production (beset by, among other things, film piracy and lack of local theaters), focusing on a number of individual case studies to illustrate distinctive characteristics as well as nascent efforts at regionalisation. The paper will then move on to consider the nature of the film productions themselves—their technical traits, generic trends, and thematic underpinnings. It will be argued that even in the most seemingly inane of these feature films—dominated by technically shoddy horror comedies—there are consistent concerns with imagining what a modern, newly developed Cambodia might entail as it emerges from its still vivid historical traumas; and that this manifests itself in particular in a preoccupation with figuring a new middle class identity for Cambodians.

Speaker biography

Adam Knee is Professor of Film and Media Studies and Head of the School of International Communications at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China; he has previously held teaching posts in the US, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and Thailand, where he was a Fulbright grantee at Chulalongkorn University. His research has primarily focused on US and Southeast Asian popular cinema, and his writing on Asian film has appeared in such anthologies as Horror to the Extreme: Changing Boundaries in Asian Cinema (U of Hong Kong P, 2009), East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film (I.B. Tauris, 2008).