Tokyo 2014: ‘The Last Reel’ a resonating testament to the power of cinema

- Advertisement -

Last-Reel-Projection-Booth


Last-Reel-Projection-Booth

The Last Reel
Written by Ian Masters
Directed by Kulikar Sotho
Cambodia, 2014

Female director Kulikar Sotho’s debut features the vibrant story of an unlikely first-time director, the rebellious Sophoun (Ma Rynet), who flees her unstable home in Pnom Penh and impending arranged marriage, and takes refuge in a decrepit movie theater where she stumbles upon a lost film from the pre-Khmer Rouge era. What follows is a resonating testament to the power of cinema, the relationship between subjectivity and history, and how society struggles to deal with the ghosts of its past.

Defying the expectations of her military commander father, Sophoun is more interested in skipping class and going out than getting married and starting her own family. After a particularly bad episode, she spends the night in the seemingly abandoned theater where youths park their scooters during the day, and meets the elderly, reticent owner. Entranced by the 1970s drama that he begins to play on the screen, Sophoun is upset by the abrupt ending when the owner says that the final reel is lost.

Spurred by the knowledge that the lead actress is her mother – glamorous back then but in fragile health now, Sophoun sets about trying to recreate the film’s ending. Feeling for the first time that she has a purpose, Sophoun convinces herself that showing the final film will ease her mother’s emotional state. However, reopening the past has unknown consequences, as it forces her mother, father and cinema owner to confront the secrets that they’ve kept since the war.

For Sotho, who was born in 1973 and lived through the Khmer Rouge’s rise and fall, The Last Reel is a highly personal story. The manner in which the older characters recount their experiences rings with such fear and poignance that one may safely assume that, in addition to themes of love and family, the story is also a cautionary tale of the generational divides that persist between the young and the old; the ones for whom the Khmer Rouge is merely a scary bedtime story, and those who survived the persecution.

Although melodramatic and predictable at times (young girl goes out on the town in skimpy clothes and falls for a bad boy who, despite waving a gun around at inopportune moments, is actually quite caring), the intertextuality elevates it to something enjoyable and thought-provoking. Cinematographer Bonnie Elliot’s haunting imagery lends itself well to the story, from lingering shots of the former killing fields to dusty, forgotten reels and close-ups of faces longing for a distant past, a different path in life.

The Khmer Rouge regime, which targeted artists like actors and directors, ultimately destroyed ninety percent of existing films. Here’s to a new era of Cambodian filmmaking that, with stories like The Last Reel, will undoubtedly take their place on the world cinema stage.

– Misa Shikuma

top_logo






10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
A Saxophonist with a Saxophone in His Hands
12 Different Types of Saxophones
genre titles mash up
The 13 Types of Movies You Can Choose From (Genres)
Crowd enjoying a concert
19 Types of Entertainment – What Do You Like Doing?
Jennifer Lopez Wearing a Black Dress
25 Celebrities Who Don’t Age – What’s Their Secret?
Zucchini on a Cutting Board
14 Different Types of Zucchini for All Kinds of Dishes
different ice cream
12 Types of Ice Cream (All Forms, Shapes and Options with Examples)
Powdered Sugar in a Bowl and Scoop
10 Different Types of Sugar – I Bet You Don’t Know Them All
Different types of shrimp
17 Different Types of Shrimp that You Can Eat (or Not)
Several semi trucks on the highway
19 Different Types of Trucks – Do You Know Them All?
Airplane soaring through the air
19 Different Types of Airplanes that Dominate the Skies
Cars lined up on the road
26 Types of Cars You Can Choose From for Your Ride
Man Riding Bicycle
11 Types of Bicycles – Do You Know Them All?
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
Baseball player hitting ball
10 Types of Baseball Bats that Rip the Leather Off the Ball
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Photography and Camera Stores
9 Different Types of Website Hosting
>