Tag Archives: Golden Slumbers (2011)

Golden Slumbers: Cambodia’s lost film industry

The 2011 documentary Golden Slumbers, about the destruction of Cambodia’s pre-1975 film industry at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, is the last film from recent Melbourne International Film Festival I’ve been meaning to review.

I’ve been thinking about Cambodia a lot in the last couple of weeks. My debut novel Ghost Money, a crime novel set in the country in the mid-nineties was recently released. Amongst the many themes it deals with is the lingering impact of the destruction wrought by the Khmer Rouge on Cambodia society.

Golden Slumbers deals with one aspect of this, the almost complete eradication of Cambodia’s local film industry. I’ve written previously about the destruction of the countries incredibly vibrant pre-1975 music scene. The Khmer Rouge did the same thing to actors, directors and any one else they could find who was associated with cinema.

In their effort to obliterate what they saw a corrupt society, they destroyed movie studios, burnt any movie stock they found, killed actors, directors and technicians. So comprehensive were their efforts that out of some 400 movies that were produced prior to 1975, all that is left today are a few images, some radio grabs and sound track titles, posters and a handful of the original participants.

The survivors are a strange lot.… Read more