Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youth of the week: Rin Chhoum Virak

Youth of the week: Rin Chhoum Virak

Youth of the week: Rin Chhoum Virak


That actress will not drown; you will see her at the other side of the bank,” says student Rin Chhoum Virak.

He clues audiences watching the movie “Bopha Angkor” which is screening in a classroom at Department of Media and Communication.


Every Tuesday at lunch time, Dr Tilman Baumgärtel, a professor at DMC, screens Khmer movies from the 1960s and ’70s. Ever since the movies have been screening, Virak has never been absent from class.

At the age of 16, Virak has researched and collected about 33 collector’s items of old Khmer movies – some of which have even been lost by the original producer.

“I actually started collecting when I was in grade 10 which is about three years now.”

When he first started out, Virak faced many challenges; but this young man has never given up.

“The first big barrier was getting out there and talking to poeple and creating networks, as I was quite young and didn’t have a lot of confidence. I also didn’t really get any encouragement or support. But I did not give up my effort,” he said.

As a result, Virak conducted a team, and produced a radio talk-back show called “Movie Heritage”, or in Khmer, “Morodok Pheap Yon”. It stayed on air for almost two years and was well-liked among callers.

His team once co-operated with Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre and screened an old-school movie event.

There was such crowd turnout that some audience members were left with standing room only.

Currently, Virak is a first-year student majoring in Khmer Literature at Royal University of Phnom Penh.

“We plan to keep going when we have some spare time and would like to find another station that broadcasts nationally.”

This young achiever has also recounted many stories lost during the war, such as Tropeng Peay and Bisach Kromom.

“I met old people and asked them to recount their movie memory. It was unbelievable how much they could remember, including the date of screening.  I also verified with the old producers and actors. So far, I have written about 50 stories out of a contending 500 movies that disapeared.”

He is the eldest son among three children, and yet none of his relatives have any artistic talents. They do, however, love watching films, and Virak admits he has been doing that ever since he was a child.

“When I was young, I went to the cinema with my aunt. Then once the movie had finished, I wanted to give a review of the film to those who didn’t come with me,” he laughed.

Virak believes that old Khmer films are great in terms of its talented performers and highly educated content.

“For those who dislike old Khmer old films, it seems they have never used any critical thinking. And do not compare the technology of the past to what it is now. When we watch old movies, just imagine you were there at that time. Then, you will understand the context of the film.”

In the future, Virak hopes to keep working on this track.

Right now, he is compiling his research into a book he plans to publish once it is finalised and approved. He is also scheduling an exhibition about classic Khmer films, based on the materials he’s found over the years.


  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from