Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer Women on film



Khmer Women on film

Khmer Women on film

Christoffe Lovine describes himself as a nomad, yet pointing to his photograph

of the jungled environs of Angkor Wat, he comments, "That is where I want to

have a house." Lovine's photographs vividly illustrate his enchantment with

Cambodia. "Femmes Cambogiennes," his month-long exhibit on Cambodian women,

opens at the Centre Culturel Francais on Jun.4.

Originally titled "Rouge Khmer", the title was changed due primarily to

the reaction of Khmers according to Michel Tureau, head of cultural activities at

the Centre Culturel. But reaction is what Lovine is seeking. Through his photographs,

he wants to "show [the Khmer people] what they had lost and what can be reborn."

Lovine said Khmers were amazed to see his images.

Describing Lovine's 1991 exhibit in Phnom Penh, Tureau said, "Can you imagine

the situation in November 1991? Cambodia was still empty of everything, actually.

Few shops were open; there was no newspaper. It was very rare to see anything pictorial.

[Cambodia] didn't have anything worth looking at. For the first time in 20 years,

Cambodians were able to see an exhibition in color of Cambodia."

Tureau explains that there was a large "gap between photographic production

of the 1970s and 20 years later. [The exhibit] connected Cambodia with the rest of

the world."

"I remember there was a church turned into a dormitory ...an alter where the

orphans slept [and] a villa turned into a slaughter house."

The current exhibit includes one of Lovine's favorite subjects, dancers. Explaining

"Metamorphosis," Tureau says, "When the girls arrive, they are ordinary.

They wrap themselves in cloth and become apsaras." And soon, "all the feelings

are in the tips of the fingers." In addition, one can find Weepers, hilltribe

women of Rattanikiri weeping for dead husbands, Lightfall, at the Bayonne, Live Fresco,

The Survivor, and one which Lovine says "is quite erotic."

Sokha, described by Lovine as the "queen of the princesses at Angkor,"

is the subject of many of his photographs. "Like dwarfs inside a giant tree,"

she and her friends spend most of their time in the environs of Angkor.

"Sometimes the teachers do not come to school so they make school-so eager to

learn even if they have no teacher," explains Lovine.

In addition to his journalistic and photographic freelance work with publications

including Geo magazine, Lovine has had photo exhibitions in Paris, Tokyo and Manila.

"Femme Cambogiennes" is on display at the Centre Culture Franais for the

month of June. In July, the exhibit will open at the Hotel Sofitel Cambodiana.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and