127' 2017 UK, Ireland, Cambodia director: Chris Kelly cinematography: Chris Kelly editing: Chris Kelly, Ryan Mullins, Pawel Stec production: Little Ease Films, Zanzibar Films, Dartmouth Films, Eyesteelfilm
The nine years that British documentary filmmaker and photographer Chris Kelly spent in Cambodia resulted in a film that not only provides an extraordinary picture of changes in the Cambodian landscape, also the socio-political one, but the work is also perhaps most interesting among recent artistic, "non-activist" documentary portraits of activists. The three main protagonists are Luon Sovath, a Buddhist monk who becomes a video activist and human rights defender despite problems with a religious establishment that values the alliance of throne and the altar; Srey Pov, a mother of three fighting against forced evictions; and her friend, Tep Vanny, who is slowly moving to the forefront of the social protest movement against displacement. Kelly is interested in the political and personal complexity of their fight for what they believe in, a complexity that eventually transforms into drama. Kelly's wonderful cinematography is accompanied by James Holden's music, which helps create a subtle composition of an audiovisual fugue in which the individual themes are woven together in an emotional finale.