Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll
Directed by John Pirozzi 107 minutes
Cambodia, USA, France. 2014. In English, French, and Khmer with English Subtitles. With Sieng Vanthy, Norodom Sirivudth, Sieng Di, Mol Kamach, Dy Saveth, Thong Sem, Mol Kagnol
"A rich and defiant effort at recovery, showing that even the most murderous totalitarianism cannot fully erase the human drive for pleasure and self-expression."
--A.O. Scott, New York Times (NYT Critics' Pick)
"During the 60's and early 70's as the war in Vietnam threatened its borders, a new music scene emerged in Cambodia that took Western rock and roll and stood it on its head creating a sound like no other. Cambodian musicians crafted this sound from the various rock music styles sweeping, America, England and France, adding the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of their traditional music. The beautiful singing of their renowned female vocalists became the final touch that made this mix so enticing.
But as Cambodian society - young creative musicians in particular - embraced western culture and flourished under its influence, the rest of the country was rapidly moving to war. On the left, Prince Sihanouk joined forces with the Khmer Rouge and rallied the rural population to take up arms against the government that deposed him. On the right, the Cambodian military, with American military support, waged a war that involved a massive aerial bombing campaign on the countryside. In the end, after winning the civil war, the Khmer Rouge turned their deadly focus to the culture of Cambodia.
After taking over the country on April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge began wiping out all traces of modernity and Western influence. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were specifically and systematically targeted and eliminated. Thus began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing an estimated two million people a quarter of the Cambodian population.
Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll tracks the twists and turns of Cambodian music as it morphs into rock and roll, blossoms, and is nearly destroyed along with the rest of the country. This documentary film provides a new perspective on a country usually associated with only war and genocide. The film is a celebration of the incredible music that came from Cambodia and explores how important it is to Cambodian society both past and present."
Preceded by the short film "Cambodia 2099" by Davy Chou (21 mins.).
- 2014 DOC NYC, USA
2015 International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands
- 2015 CAAMFest, San Francisco, USA
- 2015 Seattle International Film Festival, USA
- Human Rights Arts & Film Festival, Melbourne, Australia
Meet the Filmmaker
As a director John Pirozzi’s previous documentary film, Sleepwalking Through the Mekong, chronicled the California based band Dengue Fever’s first trip to Cambodia. He has also directed music videos for Queens of the Stone Age, Calexico, Vic Chesnutt and Victoria Williams. As cinematographer he has shot numerous documentaries including Xan Cassavetes' critically acclaimed Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, Radio Unnameable, about free form radio pioneer Bob Fass and Bling: A Planet Rock which details the blood diamond trade in Sierra Leone through the eyes of Hip Hop artists. He also shot the closing number of "I’m Your Man" which was a musical performance by Leonard Cohen and U2. As 2nd unit DP and camera operator John has worked on film’s such as Matt Dillon’s City of Ghosts and Patti Smith’s Dream of Life. He has done much 2nd unit work for the CBS show Person of Interest and is currently working on a new show for NBC titled Allegiance. (Source: CAT&Docs)
Sun., August 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM Central Valley Premiere
Janet Leigh Theatre, Stockton
Documentary Feature Film
Director: John Pirozzi Script: John Pirozzi Producers: Andrew Pope, John Pirozzi Cinematographer: John Pirozzi Editors: Daniel Littlewood, Gregory Wright, Matthew Prinzing
Music: Scot Blackwell Stafford