Cambodia’s Creature Features
Part II: The Snake King’s ChildAfter the fall of the Khmer Rouge and when the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic took control, cinemas were re-opened showing foreign films from Vietnam, the Soviet Union, Hindi films from India and action movies from Hong Kong. However the steady diet of pro-Soviet films focused on class struggles and socialist realism grew tiresome and Cambodian audiences demanded something with a more Cambodian flare.
Many sources wrongly state that The Snake King’s Child was the first feature film produced after the Khmer Rouge, whereas in actuality, Cambodian cinema actually resumed production of feature films in 1980 – 1 year after the end of the Khmer Regime and 21 years before TSKC’s release. The distinction of being the very first post-Regime Cambodian film belongs to My Mother is Arb (Kon Aeuy Madhi Ahp or Krasue Mom).
MMiA follows a young man who discovers that his mother is secretly an Arb/ Arp (a ghost with a woman’s head connected only to her viscera) and whilst pretending to her that he doesn’t know, living in the fear that his is in danger, his future is in jeopardy and that his mother’s secret may be discovered by others. MMiA was heavily based on Khmer folklore and after the attempted cultural erasure of the Khmer Regime, was very popular. Continue reading