The historical record generated by film, video, photographic, and sound documents over the last 150 years has become a valuable source of cultural memory in much of the world

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The historical record generated by film, video, photographic, and sound documents over the last 150 years has become a valuable source of cultural memory in much of the world. At this point, most countries can’t imagine not having these documents of the past, and with the assistance of audiovisual archives, they will hopefully live on. Even though the amount of material produced is overwhelming, which certainly calls for a careful preservation selection, the impulse to keep these documents is a global one. UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme has called for the worldwide preservation of valuable audiovisual records. But what of those that don’t have the luxury of such a wealth of historical material? What happens in countries where memory and culture have been obliterated by war and ideological regimes? Does a country like Cambodia, deprived of a historical and cultural memory for decades if not centuries, value images of their past differently than in many parts of the world? Would access to this memory help the country recover from unhealed wounds?
The historical record of Cambodia has repeatedly gone through a process of being scattered, destroyed, and forgotten over the last half millennium. Civil disputes, foreign invasion, and genocide have left the country with a scattered past. As Cambodia historian Ben Kiernan notes, “Hindu, Buddhist, royalist, republican, colonial and communist regimes came and went. Five relocations of the Khmer capital in as many centuries preceded the three foreign occupations and seven regime changes of the past sixty years alone. Time and again, officials abandoned archives. Rulers erased rivals from the record. International leaders denied Cambodia’s history or blocked its documentation.”1 The palm leaf records of the once great Angkor kingdom have long been lost. The post-Angkor period is almost entirely undocumented. There are no documents on the massacre of ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia in the 18th century, only the diaries and letters of a French missionary who witnessed these events.2 What remains of Cambodia’s historical record during the 19th and 20th centuries is comparatively sparse. Incredibly, during a period that saw a major increase in documentation through print and audiovisual media throughout the world, Cambodia’s record remained remarkably thin. This lack of a comprehensive historical record is intertwined with the traumatic events and ideological regimes that have controlled the country in recent decades.
Surviving colonialism and Japanese occupation, Cambodia has gone through many forms of government since gaining independence from the French in 1954, The most well known of these is the Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot. During this period the people of Cambodia were persecuted and murdered, while literacy and culture were erased. Books, religion, money, private property, formal education, and freedom of movement disappeared. Links to the past were destroyed. Emerging from this era, Cambodia found itself in a fragile state. Haunted by the memory of what had happened, people struggled to regain a semblance of their former lives, but they found that little had remained. That memory has yet to be given peace. Twenty-five years later, the shock of the Khmer Rouge genocide can be felt.
One result of this trauma was that Cambodia’s historical record was either destroyed or disbursed throughout the world. Books, films, and artistic works created before the revolution were often destroyed. After this period, the international community paid more attention to writing and reporting on the genocide than did the local. This was in part due to the continuing struggle of Cambodians to simply survive hunger and disease. Another factor is that the horrors of the Khmer Rouge were politically suppressed, leaving the people little room to reflect on this era formally or creatively. But perhaps one of the most important reasons was that Cambodia had lost almost all of its educated population. In 1995, Helen Jarvis, who helped rebuild the National Library of Cambodia, wrote:
Cambodia today gives little emphasis to the generation and preservation of contemporary records. This can be ascribed to a number of factors, the most significant being the loss of almost the entire educated workforce and administrative apparatus during the Pol Pot years, resulting in government being managed overwhelmingly by officials with low educational background and little administrative training.3
As a result, little documentation of Cambodian life by locals has been made since the fall of Pol Pot’s government. Contemporary cultural and historical works on Cambodia can be found in countries such as France, the United States, and Australia, where many refugees fled and where scholars have had a continuing interest in the country.
This paper will explore the factors that led to these circumstances and determine where the archives of Cambodia’s past lie today. With a focus on the audiovisual, it will look at two emerging attempts at providing the country with a film, video and sound collection that will facilitate a reflection on the past, inspire new interpretations of the historical, and give Cambodia the cultural memory it has largely lost. As the documents on and of this country lie in various archives throughout the world, a thorough search must be conducted in order to determine exactly what exists. This paper is gives historical perspective to an ongoing project to survey the Cambodia-related materials in archives around the world, with the goal of obtaining copies for Cambodia. Such an effort aspires to mitigate the, “connection between the absence of a recollection effort, and a lack of democracy, or the absence of a constitutional state, or under-development,” that Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh sees as the result of a lack of historical records.4 This paper will look into the history of audiovisual production within Cambodia, and attempt to summarize what survives and where. It will then turn to look specifically within the United States and Australia, and a general description of what audiovisual documents are located in these areas will be outlined, including a more in-depth look at specific collections. A reflection on their source will be provided, as these materials may have been created by either Cambodian or foreign producers.
A Scattered History
The late 16th century saw the seizure of the Angkor region by the Thai, and shortly after, the Vietnamese gained control over the eastern regions of Cambodia. For over three hundred years, Thailand and Vietnam essentially controlled the country. After the French took over Vietnam, they reclaimed Angkor for the Khmer and established a protectorate over Cambodia that prevented the neighboring countries from taking it over completely. Under colonial rule (1863-1954), Khmer-language history and education were suppressed in favor of imposing French state legitimacy.5 Even after the fall of the colonial power, the rule of Prince Norodom Sihanouk (1954-1970) continued the policy of only publishing serious works of history, literature, and politics in English or French. The National Library of Cambodia, established by the French in December 1924, contained almost exclusively French and English materials during its first fifty years, with only a fraction of these about Cambodia.6
Cambodia went through a period of traumatic upheaval following the end of the Sihanouk regime. While Sihanouk was out of the country in 1970, the Cambodian National Assembly, with the support of the United States, ousted Prince Sihanouk and put Prime Minister Lon Nol in power of the country. Almost immediately after, the U.S. war in Vietnam found its way into Cambodia. In an aggressive bombing campaign conceived by President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to target Vietnamese opposition forces,7 the eastern Cambodian countryside was all but leveled between 1970 and 1973. The tonnage of bombs dropped was at least three times that dropped on Japan during World War II. Little is known about the full extent of the damage, but the figures for the number of deaths due to this assault range between 30,000 and 500,000. During this period, a civil war raged between the Lon Nol regime and the opposition party, the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), or Khmer Rouge, who claimed to support Sihanouk. The strength of the Khmer Rouge at the time they captured Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975 was largely due to their anti-U.S. and South Vietnamese platform, which allowed them to recruit many young vengeful refugees from the demolished provinces.
Within hours of gaining power, the Khmer Rouge emptied the cities and forced all people into labor camps. Systematic genocide was committed against the educated townspeople and Khmer Buddhist monkhood, “the traditional bearers of cultural literacy.”8 Ethnic minorities were also purged from the country or murdered, including hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cham Muslims. Within the camps, families were separated and identities erased. The Khmer people became slaves for three years, eight months and twenty days. In that time, around 2 million people died from execution, famine, disease or exhaustion, nearly one-quarter of the country’s population.
Pol Pot’s regime sought to erase Cambodia’s past by proclaiming that, “over two thousand years of Cambodian history” had ended.9 The country was renamed Democratic Kampuchea (DK), and the date was year zero. All influence and memory of colonial power and foreign influence was to be forgotten. The books inside National Library of Cambodia were burned and its grounds turned into living quarters for pig-keepers.10 Schools were closed and teachers executed. According to “The Party’s Four-Year Plan for the Establishment of Socialism in All Fields” the goal was to, “Abolish, uproot, and disperse the cultural, literary, and artistic remnants of the imperialists, colonialists, and all of the other oppressor classes.”11 For a country with a past so entangled with such powers, this essentially meant the abolition of all prior forms of education and cultural practice.
DK fell following a Vietnamese invasion on January 6, 1979. The following year food and medicine was so scarce that famine and disease swept the already stricken country. Refusing to support the Vietnamese, the UN continued to recognize Pol Pot’s CPK (Communist Party of Kampuchea) as the Cambodian government in exile. For geopolitical reasons, the U.S. and European powers refused to provide assistance to the starving nation for years. To this day, the party’s leaders have not been tried for their crimes, and Pol Pot died comfortably of old age in 1998. This is due in part to the UN’s twenty-year delay in recognizing the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. The silence of the world has encouraged Cambodians to continue ignoring their past. Schools have struggled to include history in their curriculum, but even today the Khmer Rouge genocide is a subject that has to be skirted by teachers. As of 2004, Khmer-language textbooks did not include sections on DK.12
The very long trend of destruction and disbursement of Cambodian history is improving, though very slowly. However, until the horrors of the Khmer Rouge are fully recognized with a trial of the party’s leaders13, and the history of DK is made publicly available in Khmer-language media, the Cambodian people will continue to find themselves without an acceptable, comprehensive national memory. To the survivors, the situation will never be resolved until the party leaders admit their guilt. Until that time, the country will continue to ignore the painful, unexplained past. As historians Ben Kiernan and David Chandler have found:
Most studies of DK have relied heavily on oral evidence provided by survivors. Repeatedly, and understandably, these men and women have said they are unable to explain what happened in Kampuchea between 1975 and 1979. To many of them, the regime was merely murderous, insane, and unjust.14
Hopefully, having access to Khmer-language documents and media will allow the Cambodian people to more fully come to terms with the past, and perhaps find a way of explaining their history to each other and to the world.
Gathering Cultural Memory
Most of what exists on the history of Cambodia is documents that were created by colonists or occupants, primarily for non-native scholarship. As a result, the vast majority of Cambodian history lies in countries such as France, the United States, and Australia. Helen Jarvis, in the Preface to the World Bibliographical Series volume on Cambodia, explains that, “If the bibliography were to mirror the proportions of the existing Corpus of Cambodiana, then it would contain little outside that which concerned colonial scholars…whose approach was dominated by what may today be regarded as orientalism.”15 Outside this canon, literature tends to focus on either Angkor or the Khmer Rouge genocide. Whether or not this reflects Cambodian history appropriately, the task now faced by the Khmers is to collect their historical record, interpret it, and re-create it with the addition of their own memory and cultural perspective.
Institutions and projects dedicated to preserving the historical and cultural memory of Cambodia have been established within the country. The following is a selection of some of the major efforts that have been progressing with local and international assistance since the fall of DK:

  • National Library and National Archives of Cambodia: Both institutions re-opened in 1980. In 1989, Cornell University, with the support of the Christopher Reynolds Foundations, began a program to preserve scarce and unique library and archival materials in Cambodia. John F. Dean, conservation librarian at Cornell University, spent three weeks in Cambodia training local staff in various preservation and conservation.16 Around this time, Australian Helen Jarvis began working full-time with the Library to restore its services. In 1996, Australian Peter Arfanis moved to Phnom Penh to spend six years working at the National Archives, training staff and establishing practices for the preservation of the institution and its collections.

  • Tuol Sleng “S-21” Prison Museum: The site where thousands were detained before their execution at the Choeung Ek killing fields, reopened as a genocide museum. Cells and torture rooms remain as they were under DK, and the museum’s permanent exhibition is a simple yet powerful display of photographs of prisoners that were taken as they were being processed into the facility for interrogation and/or execution. With the assistance of Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program, the Documentation Center of Cambodia was able to scan these and thousands of other photographs of individuals murdered by the Khmer Rouge, which are now accessible though an online database.17

  • Angkor: Angkor Wat and the other temples re-opened for tourism in 1992 with the help of UNESCO. Work to repair and restore the site has been ongoing. The German Apsara Convention project is working to protect the decorative elements on the temple, and a number of other foreign programs have helped rebuild damaged sites.

  • Cambodian Landmine Museum: Opened in 1999 near Angkor Wat by Aki Ra, who spent his childhood laying landmines for the Khmer Rouge, the removing them for the Vietnamese army. The Museum has become a site for reflection on war and its lasting effects, in spite of attempts by the government to shut it down. International volunteers assist the Museum by giving tours to visitors and teaching English to children who have been injured by landmines that live on the site. A relief fund has been established with the help of Canadian Richard Fitoussi, to reduce landmine casualties and rehabilitate landmine survivors in Cambodia.

Despite these efforts, the record will forever remain incomplete. One cultural component that is largely missing in Cambodia is a coherent audiovisual history. Perhaps the most powerful and accessible of all media, visual and aural documents can provide the country with a glimpse of the recent past that written material only touches upon. In the West, where the number of moving images is almost incomprehensible, the authority of the audiovisual is constantly questioned. Scholars debate the validity of films and videos as historical documents, arguing that context and manipulation can provide a flawed version of the recorded moment. Archives are overflowing with material that must be carefully triaged for preservation. Yet for a country with precious few of such documents, every image is priceless. Regardless of the context surrounding its creation, every recording was once “live,” and that fact alone makes these significant resources for gaining insight into a poorly-documented history.

Progress is being made in the development of audiovisual archives. The National Archive of Cambodia (NAC), which maintains government records beginning with those of the French colonial administration, received US$5,500 last year from the German Embassy for the establishment of a film and sound archive. Simultaneously, the creation of a private Audiovisual Resource Center is underway. Initiated by Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh, with the help a French organization called the Association for the Assistance of Audiovisual Development in Cambodia (AADAC) and a Cambodian NGO named Association for the Research, Production, and Archiving of Audiovisual Documents (ARPAA), the Center will open its doors in November 2006. The emergence of these archives is certainly an exciting moment in Cambodia’s historical project.
The National Archive of Cambodia holds original paper, book, photographic as well as audiovisual materials created in Cambodia. The current collection includes some film and video materials, however, archivist Lym Ky has informed me that the local television stations will soon begin donating videos to the archive, and that this will make up a large percentage of their holdings. The Archive’s film holdings may include some or all of the nearly 100 known films produced by Democratic Kampuchea. These films are valuable documents of the country during that time, and include scenes of farming, industry, and visits by international delegates.18 The NAC hopes to purchase equipment using the German Embassy funds to set up a transfer station and viewing area.
The Audiovisual Resource Center hopes to function as a library of audiovisual materials that relate to Cambodia, gathered from around the world. The mission of the AADAC and ARPAA project is twofold:

  1. To create an archive, “dedicated to memory, and accessible to the public, for consulting the topical audiovisual archive holdings on Cambodia”

  1. “Training in audiovisual professions, particularly in directing and producing creative documentaries.”19

These statements reflect the initiating organizations’ recognition of two major deficiencies in Cambodia’s audiovisual heritage. One is the lack of a formal training program for filmmaking, which points to the larger problem of the lack of film and video production in Cambodia, especially in the area of documentary. The second is that the audiovisual documents of Cambodia’s past were created outside the country, and are unavailable locally. The organization is now faced with the problem of re-assembling its heritage from abroad.

This is in fact one of the major activities being undertaken by AADAC and ARPAA. A worldwide search for films, videos, sound recordings, and photographs on/of Cambodia is currently underway. The initial holdings for the center will be taken from already established partnerships with the archives of the French National Audiovisual Institute (Ina), National Cinematography Center (CNC) and Gaumont Pathé Archives. Many documents will be subtitled in Khmer, and the database will index the materials in Khmer, English, and French.
The Center does not want to collect original materials; it leaves that to the task of the NAC. Instead, the project seeks donations of digitized copies of materials for archives abroad, as well as those of local institutions (including the NAC). Having all of these materials in a central location will facilitate education and organization of the audiovisual heritage. The Center will be open to the public at large, and copyrights of individual works will be protected.
Since September 2005, I have been participating in this project by conducting a search of archives the United States and Australia for Cambodia-related materials. By looking at the attached spreadsheet, one can see that there appears to be a good deal of footage that tell the story of nearly a century of life in Cambodia, with particular strength in productions on Democratic Kampuchea and the Khmer Rouge genocide produced in the U.S. and Europe. There are also pre-DK productions focused largely on Angkor and its history, the major draw to Cambodia for foreigners. Through this process, I am also learning about the history of Cambodian film production, with the hope that some of these films survive and copies might be made for their home country. However, this process is slightly complicated by the fact that many such films were intentionally scattered in archives around the world. They were relocated because their creators believed that they would be safer in France or Australia than in a country that to this day is politically and economically unstable.
Film Heritage
Very little has been written in English on Cambodian cinema. The films of Prince (who later was crowned King) Sihanouk are discussed in a few history books, but on public production there appears to be only one short, hard to find essay: “A Survey of Film in Cambodia” by Ingrid Muan and Ly Daravuth. This well-researched text has been incredibly useful in creating a picture of the landscape of Khmer cinema. Employing documents at the National Archive of Cambodia, the authors were able to conclude that the French Protectorate introduced cinema to Cambodia in 1909, showing French comedies and sometimes documentaries on the banks of on the river in Phnom Penh.20 By the 1920s, foreign producers were shooting documentaries in Cambodia, which were screened both locally and abroad. The first Cambodian filmmaker, young Prince Norodom Sihanouk, began experimenting with motion picture cameras in the 1940s. However, the colonists restricted film production until Cambodian independence in 1953, and His Magesty’s films were not shown publicly until the 1960s.21 During the 1950s the Khmer primarily viewed silent Thai features that required narrators. It wasn’t until the 1960s that production serious film production began in Cambodia. This golden age of Cambodian cinema lasted only a short time, as political and civil conflict essentially shut down production by 1974.
Sihanouk is to date the most prolific Cambodian filmmaker, with some forty-six titles to his name. His productions include documentaries that focus on his leadership and reflect on aspects of daily life in Cambodia. These were created for a general local and foreign audience.22 However, the majority of his films were narrative features created for Khmer audiences. In the 1960s, His Majesty banned foreign production companies that he felt were creating a negative image of his country abroad by focusing on the exotica and not modern Khmer life.23 His hope was to establish a national cinema that would depict the country at its best. In her essay on the King’s film’s, Eliza Romey concludes that while the content of his films varied over the decades, the subjects treated generally, “address the challenges to the relationship between the monarchy and the Khmer.”24
Outside the monarchy, private experiments with cinema began in the 1950s. Around 1958 the first Cambodian features appeared and received wide circulation. The most well known film of this period was Footprints of the Khmer by Sun Bum Ly, who studied filmmaking in the United States. His films appear to have inspired others to take up filmmaking, including Lyn Bun Yim, who was to be one of the biggest directors of the 1960s. The Cambodia’s Office of Film also began work, mainly producing documentaries and newsreels that were shown before features. During this period, movie going became a very popular activity and, as Muan and Daravuth have found, movie theaters could be found all over Phnom Penh and the provinces.25 It wasn’t until 1968 that equipment was brought from France that enabled filmmakers to add sound to their films, where they had previously relied on narrators.26 Thus there was only a short period of sound film in Cambodia before production ceased with the revolution. The Khmer Rouge also created a number of films that documented workers and factory production. According to Muan and Daravuth, these films were occasionally screened at meetings of rural work groups.27
After the fall of DK, film production was slow to start up again. It wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s, when video equipment and VCRS made their way into Cambodia, that local producers picked up cameras again. These videos were low quality and simple, but they helped bring a brief creative renaissance back to the shattered nation. The narratives were generally, “love/war/rags-to-riches/comedy amalgamations, with sappy dialogue and maudlin singing.”28 Also, at least one pre-DK filmmaker, Ivong Haim, returned to the scene at this time and worked in 16mm.
In his 1992 Film Comment article on the new Cambodian cinema, John Eli Shapiro wrote, “The unstable politics in Cambodia pose little threat to this nascent industry because, in a country with a ruined infrastructure where nothing seems to work right, the business of film production is a singular success story, a source of national pride,” adding that. “Cambodia’s film and video output continues unabated.”29 However, shortly after this article was published the movie houses began to close around the country, and production halted. It isn’t exactly clear what was the cause of this phenomenon, but Muan and Daravuth speculated that, “Local producers with any capital have little incentive to spend their money and time to produce new videos or films since copyright laws are net yet being enforced in Cambodia and their work is immediately stolen, duplicated and sold for extremely low prices.”30 Today, a few productions have started up again, although filmmakers and actors have no training, and the films resulting are of very low quality.31 While a copyright law has recently been adopted, it may take time for it to become enforced. It remains to be seen whether this new wave of production will continue, but with the assistance of the training facility at the Archive Resource Center, Cambodia’s film production will hopefully soon be of quality to compete with neighboring countries.
Traces of History
Clearly Cambodia has never had an extensive output of films, but what survives is only a fraction of what was created. During the tumultuous years following the fall of DK, the 1960s and 1970s films that had been stored at the Department of Film were stolen.32 The only surviving copies of these prints now lie with their creators, if they exist at all.33 It is unclear what might remain of the video titles produced during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is unlikely that many of these titles made it outside Cambodia. However, one 1987 production titled Cambodia Before the Genocide by Biv Chhay Lieng can be found on ¾” U-Matic tape at the Library of Congress. Today, Cambodia’s most active filmmaker is above-mentioned Rithy Panh, who escaped DK and fled to France, where he learned filmmaking. Panh has produced 13 titles, including the powerful documentary, S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2002). Since he is founder of the Audiovisual Resource Center, it can be assumed that he will provide copies of his films for researchers there.
With the exception of a few titles, King Sihanouk’s films have survived. The King retired in 1998 and moved his personal archive to two locations outside of Cambodia. His written materials now reside at the Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient (EFEO) in Paris and his audiovisual documents are at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Sihanouk chose these locations because of their political stability and the excellent reputations of the institutions.34 Unfortunately, it appears that no copies of the film and sound materials were left on deposit in Cambodia.
Looking outside of this corpus of Cambodian feature cinema, however, one finds that many revealing audiovisual documents of Cambodian history do survive in repositories in the United States. Two very intriguing sets of documents are in the National Archives and Records Administration. The first is a collection of seven 35mm and one hundred and sixty 16mm Cambodian newsreels from the 1960s, including those produced by Cambodia’s Ministry of Information. The other collection is a series of documents created by the U.S. Information Agency in Cambodia between 1953 and 1970. NARA’s database lists nearly 200 films in this series, though their content is not described. Muan and Daravuth do note that the United States Information Service (USIS), “by the late 1950s had a considerable presence in Cambodia and produced documentary footage of U.S. sponsored activities.”35 It is reasonable to conclude that these are the same documentaries.
Other interesting collections can be found scattered throughout U.S. archives. The Library of Congress, for example, has the collection of Harry Wright, which includes approximately ten documentary productions, set in Cambodia in the 1920s and 1930s. The Library also has about two-dozen reports and documentaries created by Western journalists and filmmakers before and after DK. It is fascinating to compare the March 5, 1975 (just over one month before the Khmer Rouge took power) CBS special report on Cambodia that calls for American assistance in the civil war torn nation, with John Pilger’s 1980 report entitled Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia. This hour long documentary was the first created by Western journalists after the fall of DK and the footage is absolutely horrifying. Pilger, of London’s Daily Mirror, discusses the lack of assistance from Western nations that refused to recognize the fall of the Khmer Rouge and work with Vietnam on rebuilding Cambodia.
Yale University’s Cambodia Genocide Program has a collection of about 30 oral histories with refugees on cassette tape. National Geographic Society’s film archive has numerous film and video productions that include documentaries as well as footage of archeological and anthropological expeditions in Cambodia over the years. Archives such as the Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia contain a number of award winning documentaries produced on Cambodia. The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia also has numerous television and film productions in their collection. It is the hope of the AADAC and ARPAA that copies of these materials might be made for Cambodia’s first audiovisual archive, one that will provide the country with a form cultural memory that it has never had access to. The collection will also be of great benefit to aspiring filmmakers as training materials.
Building repositories such as those of the NAC and the Audiovisual Resource Center is a huge step for Cambodia’s audiovisual history. Having the materials such as those described above will only strengthen the nation’s heritage, and hopefully contribute to the establishment of new creative output and historical reflection. As my search for materials has been nearly completed, I am turning to the next step: working with archives to obtain copies of materials for the Center. This is an intimidating task, and will require the use of marketing and persuasion skills that I have not tested for many years. Yet I firmly believe in Rithy Panh’s vision for the Center, and will do my best to contribute to its formation and development. I am currently drafting a letter of introduction to archives and a model donation contract, which are intended to assist in establishing relationships between the Center and institutions such as NARA, the Library of Congress, and the National Geographic Society.

1 Ben Kiernan. “Coming to Terms with the Past.” History Today. September 2004: 16.

2 Ibid.

3 Helen Jarvis. “The National Library of Cambodia: Surviving for Seventy Years.” Libraries and Culture. Vol. 30, No. 4, Fall 1995: 403.

4 Rithy Panh. “Recognizing Everyone’s Right to Their Memory.” Les Nouveax Dossiers de l’Audiovisuel. No. 6, September – October 2005: 33.

5 Keirnan 16.

6 Jarvis, “The National Library of Cambodia,” 397.

7 From the transcript of a recorded telephone conversation between Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, 9 December 1970, 8:45 pm, Nixon stated: “I want a plan where every goddamn thing that can fly goes into Cambodia and hits every target that is open.”

Accessed from the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University’s website, 19 November 2005

8 Kiernan 16.

9 David Chandler. A History of Cambodia. 3rd ed. (Boulder: Westview Press, 2000): 209.

10 Jarvis, “The National Library of Cambodia,” 392.

11David P. Chandler, Ben Kiernan, and Chanthou Boua, ed. Pol Pot Plans the Future. (New Haven: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1988): 113.

12 Kiernan 17.

13 The trial of Khmer Rouge leaders appears to finally be getting underway. Over the past year, donations from a variety of international sources have been pledged for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. On 23 November 2005, after years of complication, the UN and Cambodia signed a landmark agreement to set up a Supreme Court in the Cambodian court system for the trial of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. An international group of judicial candidates are to be interviewed in New York in December 2005. See the “Chronology of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal” on the Documentation Center of Cambodia’s website, accessed 26 November 2005 at

14 Chandler et al, xiii.

15 Helen Jarvis, compiler. Cambodia – World Bibliographical Series Vol. 200. (Oxford, England; Santa Barbara, California: Clio Press, 1997), xiii.

16 John F. Dean. “The Preservation of Books and Manuscripts in Cambodia.” American Archivist. Volume 53, Spring 1990: 282-293.

17 See the Cambodian Genocide Project Tuol Sleng Image Database. Accessed 26 November 2005 at

18 A list of the films is available from the Documentation Center of Cambodia’s website. Accessed 26 November 2005 at

19 These two mission statements are taken from the Audiovisual Resource Center’s pamphlet, which unfortunately, is not available online. Please see me for a copy of this document.

20 Ingrid Muan and Ly Daravuth. “A Survey of Films in Cambodia.” Film in South East Asia: Views from the Region. Ed. David Hanan. (Manila, Philippines : SEAPAVAA in association with the Vietnam Film Institute and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Australia, 2001): 94.

21 Ibid. 97.

22 Eliza Romey. “King, Artist, Film-Maker: The Films of Norodom Sihanouk.” Film in South East Asia: Views from the Region. Ed. David Hanan. (Manila, Philippines : SEAPAVAA in association with the Vietnam Film Institute and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Australia, 2001): 109.

23 Romey cites the examples of Richard Brookes’s Lord Jim (1964) and Marcel Camus’s Birds of Paradise (1962). See Romey, 108.

24 Ibid. 115.

25 Muan and Daravuth 101.

26 Ibid. 102.

27 Ibid. 103.

28 John Eli Shapiro. “Life with Video: Hollywood on the Mekong.” Film Comment. No. 28: 2.

29 Ibid. 6.

30 Muan and Daravuth 105.

31 “Cambodia to hold first film festival since 1990,” People’s Daily Online. 20 July 2005. Accessed 4 December 2005 at

32 Muan and Daravuth 103.

33 Panh 33.

34 Michelle Vachon. “Preserving History: King’s Retirement Coincides with the Transferal of his Archives.” The Cambodian Daily. 30 October 2004. Accessed 2 December 2005 at

35 Muan and Daravuth 100.


“Cambodia to hold first film festival since 1990,” People’s Daily Online. 20 July 2005. Accessed 4 December 2005 at

Chandler, David. A History of Cambodia. 3rd ed. Boulder: Westview Press, 2000.
Chandler, David P., Ben Kiernan, and Chanthou Boua, ed. Pol Pot Plans the Future. New Haven: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1988.
Jarvis, Helen, compiler. Cambodia – World Bibliographical Series Vol. 200. Oxford, England; Santa Barbara, California: Clio Press, 1997.
Jarvis, Helen. “The National Library of Cambodia: Surviving for Seventy Years.” Libraries and Culture. Vol. 30, No. 4, Fall 1995: 391-408.
Kiernan, Ben. “Coming to Terms with the Past.” History Today. September 2004: 16-19.
Muan, Ingrid and Ly Daravuth. “A Survey of Films in Cambodia.” Film in South East Asia: Views from the Region. Ed. David Hanan. Manila, Philippines : SEAPAVAA in association with the Vietnam Film Institute and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Australia, 2001. 93-106.
Panh, Rithy “Recognizing Everyone’s Right to Their Memory.” Les Nouveax Dossiers de l’Audiovisuel. No. 6, September-October 2005: 33.
Romey, Eliza. “King, Artist, Film-Maker: The Films of Norodom Sihanouk.” Film in South East Asia: Views from the Region. Ed. David Hanan. Manila, Philippines : SEAPAVAA in association with the Vietnam Film Institute and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Australia, 2001. 107-118.
Shapiro, John Eli. “Life with Video: Hollywood on the Mekong.” Film Comment. No. 28: 2-6.
Vachon, Michelle “Preserving History: King’s Retirement Coincides with the Transferal of his Archives.” The Cambodian Daily. 30 October 2004. Accessed 2 December 2005 at

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