This webinar spotlights the films of Uong Citta, previously known as Uong Kanthouk. Dr. LinDa Saphan will discuss Uong’s remarkable journey with filmmaking along with that of other Cambodian female directors from the early era. We will look at several of Uong’s films. In Thavary Meas Bong Uong clearly set herself apart as a filmmaker with this drama by diving deep into her characters’ obsessions and unrequited love. Additionally, we will take a look at Mouy Meun Alay, where Uong pushed her scriptwriting and directorial skills further by depicting the trauma of war. While the film industry traditionally favored films about magical fantasy worlds, Uong chose to depict the war’s impacts on the individual level, thereby reflecting what the country was experiencing. Her last film Pel Del Trov Youm is her love letter to the film industry and to her muse, Vichara Dany. This film is a unique meta-narrative that centers on the dynamics and blurry line between personal and professional life in the film business.
Speaker: LinDa Saphan, a 2022 Senior Fellow at the Center of Khmer Studies and 2023-2024 Fulbright Scholar, is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology/Anthropology at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, New York City. In 2005, Saphan co-founded Visual Arts Open in Phnom Penh and she established the “Selapak Neari” program in 2006, providing workshops, networking opportunities, and an exhibition space for emerging female artists. Her greatest achievements are in the motion-picture industry with the release in 2014 of her documentary film: Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll and her book published in 2022 on early Cambodian cinema: Faded Reels, the Art of Four Cambodian Filmmakers 1960-1975.
Moderator: George Chigas is an Associate Teaching Professor Emeritus in Cambodian Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he taught courses in Cambodian literature and cultural history. Prior to coming to UMass Lowell in 2004, he was the Associate Director at the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University. He earned his Doctorate in Southeast Asian Languages and Cultures from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London and his Masters in Asian Studies from Cornell University. He is the author of Tum Teav: A Translation and Literary Analysis of a Cambodian Classic. He currently lives in Siem Reap, Cambodia.