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Movie screen travels to far-flung villages

FROM this Wednesday through to December, thousands of Cambodians in rural villages will have the chance to see films on large, outdoor screens in the provinces. The project, called Movies on the Road, was first launched in 2008 by the French Cultural Centre (CCF).

Since then, more than 100,000 people have attended the screenings, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia and 15 provinces.

The travelling movies present at least one film dubbed into Khmer each month.

This year, movies such as Kirikou and the Wild Beasts or the French film The Goat will be shown. Box-office successes, horror films, comedies and cartoons make the audience both laugh and shiver.

“It’s funny to see their reactions,” said Kor Borin, head of cultural services at the CCF.

“Sometimes, they don’t understand everything, but the main thing is that we go to meet them, and we promote cultural diversity through cinema,” he said.

“We want to show that culture is not only for the elite and for city-dwellers,” added Olivier Planchon, deputy director of the CCF. He said he hopes that this simple project, which costs only US$10,000 a year to run after the equipment was bought, will pave the way for other initiatives.

As these screenings have a huge audience in the countryside, partnerships have even been established with organisations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO to use these evetnts as opportunites increase the audience’s awareness of varied issues. AIDS, human rights, women’s rights or general education spots are often broadcast, and viewers can also ask questions.

Photos by French or Cambodian photographers are shown at the beginning of each screening, introducing audiences to new views. Even in remote provinces, the screenings are so popular that the CCF is beginning to think about touring other art forms around remote areas where cultural events are not accessible.

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