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PRESS KIT

Publié par SCARS OF CAMBODIA sur 10 Novembre 2012

Scars of Cambodia is a movie, a photographic work and a webdocumentary. The french partners Emilie Arfeuil, photographer, and Alexandre Liebert, director, testify of the Khmer Rouge History  through the portrait of a Cambodian who carries physical and moral scars of it.

Scars of Cambodia is a movie, a photographic work and a webdocumentary. The french partners Emilie Arfeuil, photographer, and Alexandre Liebert, director, testify of the Khmer Rouge History through the portrait of a Cambodian who carries physical and moral scars of it.

CONTACT: scarscambodia@gmail.com
SYNOPSIS

Tut is a 52 years old fisherman living in Kampot. In spite of the language barrier, he told, for the first time and without any words, about his past during the Khmer Rouge Regime, to a photographer and a director, showing the hard treatments he experienced in a prison the year he turned fifteen. This shared encounter talks about the buried memory, the way it shows through gestures, attitudes and glances, the way it marks someone for life and constitutes a person. Tut’s psychological and physical traumas bring to light the historical scars of Cambodia.

CAREER

2014 MOVIE won Best Photography Award and Best Original Film Score Award at Clermont International Short Film Festival.
2013 MOVIE selected at Festival des Nouveaux Cinémas Documentaires in Paris - France.
PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO selected and published in Rendez-vous à Arles avec votre livre in “La collection” created by Chez Higgins, Photographie.com and Blurb.
PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO finalist of Bourse du Talent #53 Reportage.
2012 PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION at Bophana Center, Phnom Penh - Cambodia.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

When Polpot took control of Cambodia in 1975, he was determined to create a completely new society starting by destroying all the aspects of the former one. His communist regime began by executing systematically every person who had relations with the former government, and built prisons and forced-labor camps. Determinedly agrarians, the Angkar set agricultural population against city-dwellers, accused of being contaminated by the bourgeois imperialism. Phnom Penh was immediately emptied and its population sent to the countryside in camps to work under watch. They laud the intellectuals elimination and the reeducation of adult populations by manual labor.


Led by Polpot, this dictatorship terrorizes the population during 3 years 8 months and 20 days: the inhabitants are starved, imprisoned, tortured, or sent to forced labor camps. This genocide killed 1,7 million Cambodians, almost 21% of the population.


While today the trial of the old government is finally in progress more than 30 years after the facts, what’s going on into the mind of the survivors ?

SCARS

Cambodia still carries the tracks of this genocide and has to learn how to deal with, without taboos, to reconstruct itself over it. This crime against humanity left moral and physical scars hardly hidden and which the Cambodian population has to live with every day. An omnipresence of History which is so engraved that it becomes the personal history of each.

Few Cambodians who survived this period have the desire or the courage to speak about it. This absence of word leads the victims to a long and painfull path to the statement of past traumas, losses, and mournings. This burden is aggravated by the poverty which remains very wide-spread in the Kingdom.

ENCOUNTER

It is one of these meetings which marks a life. At the foot of your building, in the coffee shop or far at the end of the world. It is by chance that Emilie and Alexandre met Tut, on a small street of pilotis houses, in the outskirts of Kampot, Cambodia. Emilie’s resemblance with one of Tut’s lost sisters started the encounter, the mutual curiosity, then the return of the memory and the sudden need to tell. It is more than 30 years later that Tut choose to tell his story for the first time.


After two trips, between 2012 and 2013, and more than 5 months staying in Cambodia, a deep intimacy and a real trust built itself between Tut and the couple of artists. It is thanks to this trust that for the first time, through the memories of his past, he revealed the horror of the Polpot regime.

extract from the movie

extract from the movie

A SILENT TESTIMONY

Till their first meeting in August 2010, Tut had himself decided to approach this painful subject and to entrust them, as if it was natural to speak to them about it, as if the moment had finally come. When they came back one and a half year later with their cameras, they decided not to question him : they simply give him the freedom to talk.


The language barrier engages a communication without words which they will choose to keep intact in all the project: they will not appeal to a translator, they will not make interviews. When the words or the language create a distance, the body language creates a direct, sensorial, emotional, sometimes very rough and violent, in front of the memory‘s assaults. The transmission of the memory will remain thus silent, through gestures and paper writing, within the framework of an intimate and not formal encounter.

The transmission of the memory will remain thus silent, through gestures and paper writing, within the framework of an intimate and not formal encounter.

A SUBJECTIVE PORTRAIT

In Scars of Cambodia, the History as archive documents or historic explanations, will stay of the order of the invisible. The visible will be the version of History which Tut choose to share and tell, his own history, with all the subjectivity that it contains and which is the heart of the project’s subject.


Tut is a witness among so many others, an individual memory which is one of the stones that builds the History of his country. The main question is not to inform again about the tragic History of Cambodia but to show how an individual deals today with the scars of this heavy past. Beyond a reflexion about memory, it is an intimate encounter to bring back the human being out of inhumanity.

DOCUMENTARY AND ARTISTIC INTENTIONS

This project is developped in several media: at the same time a photographic portfolio (exhibitions, photographic book, publications), a 30mn documentary movie (mixing photography and video), and a webdocumentary (coming in April 2015).


The photographer’s and director’s sensibilities are similar: human, more sensorial than consensual, and at the same time documentary and artistic. They focus their glances on the same subject, the same event, the same moment; they are particular, personal, different but complementary.

PRESS KIT

Both artists go farther than the simple documentary reality, and allow the selves to stage Tut in lighting effects, to show better the tracks of his past, creating a metaphor of the loneliness caused by his trauma.


Emilie Arfeuil, the photographer, describes the scar in the first meaning of the word, as an eternal physical mark. For that, she used the technique called light painting. It’s a long exposure shot in total darkness where she “paints” the skin parts by parts with a torch light, to choose the direction of the light, in a kind of choregraphy. This technique obliges the model to stay totally immobile during all the exposure. It creates a real intimacy between the photographer and the model. The light accentuates the marks of the past on his body by isolating him from his environment and his present.

PRESS KIT

Alexandre Liebert creates a silent movie, mainly visual and sensorial documentary, where the scriptwriter is Tut himself, by his memory but also by his life today. Tut does not speak either French or English; Alexandre does not speak Khmer. The unique way of communication is the body language, an intense visual element that possesses a real dramaturgic power. The camera is at the same time an observer of this reality where the past resurfaces, but put scenes on stage to bring to light some aspects of his memories.

He applies also the technique of light painting in the video to capture the marks on his body, explore his skin with a torch light in total darkness to reveal the indelible mark of History. His approach of the subject has the peculiarity to ally an esthetics and techniques from the fiction in a documentary storytelling.

PRESS KIT

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