In the Life of Music, a story told in three chapters, tells of how one song 'Champa Battambang,' made famous by Sinn Sisamuth (the King of Khmer Music), plays a role in the lives of three different generations.
In the Life of Music tells the story of how one song "Champa Battambang," a song made famous by Sinn Sisamouth (the King of Khmer Music), plays a role in the lives of three different generations. It is a feature narrative told in 3 chapters during 3 different decades, depicting the lives of people whose world is inevitably transformed by the emergence of the Khmer Rouge Regime. It is a powerful intergenerational tale that weaves through 37 years of Cambodia's ever-changing landscape.Written by
As a second-generation Cambodian-American, "In the Life of Music" struck a chord with me. No pun intended. Great feature films made by ethnic minorities are a rare treat. A feature film made by a Cambodian-American is even rarer, and I savored every moment of it.
I was particularly struck with Ellen Wong's performance as a Cambodian-American trying to gather up pieces of her family's history despite the English-Khmer language barrier between her and the older generation. It's an issue I identify with in my own life since many older Cambodians refugees struggle with English due to a combination of immigrating at an older age, severe trauma and hardship from war, lack of financial resources, and access to education. A lot of second-generation Cambodian-Americans, like myself, have difficulty communicating with the older generation because our Khmer language skills diminish due to overworked parents trying to make ends meet don't have much personal time for family, and/or formal language classes in Khmer aren't really available in our communities.
What ends up happening is a huge language and cultural gap between 1st generation and 2nd generation Cambodian-Americans. 1st Generation Cambodian-Americans have trouble speaking about their past history and experiences either because of language difficulty or the experience was too painful to talk about. 2nd Generation Cambodian-Americans have trouble asking and learning/understanding about those experiences.
This film, "In the Life of Music" tries to create a cultural bridge between the two generations who have trouble understanding one another through the shared experience of music. And I think the film does a great job at it since 1960s Cambodian pop music was one of the few things the older generation had and held onto in America. And it's also one of the few things 2nd Gen Cambodian-Americans can use to relate to our parents since it's often part of our childhood experience at family events or restaurants. The only other thing that remotely comes close to it would maybe be ...the Southern California donut.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this