Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - French Institute’s cinema goes digital



French Institute’s cinema goes digital

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Act of Killing will be one of the first films to be screened using the French Institute’s new digital projector. Photo supplied

French Institute’s cinema goes digital

Mini film festival curated by Rithy Panh to show off new technology at cultural centre

Sovann Vannara, long-serving projectionist at the French Institute, is excited to show off his new toy – a state of the art digital projector.

Vannara first learned to project films on 35mm film, but he isn’t overly nostalgic for the old technology. “35mm is exhausting,” he said. “You had to stick all the different parts together, then you had to push the machine.” With digital projection, things are easier: “You put it in the projector and it’s all done – no cutting and gluing.”

The projector is an exciting arrival for the rest of the French Institute staff as well, and one that launches a significant expansion of the centre’s cultural programming.

“A way to get influence and a way to develop interest for French culture is through cinema,” said Cecile Peyronnet, cultural attaché to the Institute.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rithy Panh is getting carte blanche to screen whatever films he likes at the cinema. Afp

In recent years, films at the French Institute have been shown using simple home-projection equipment.

The new digital package provides for surround sound, improved light and a significantly sharper image. “You have the same quality as a screen in, for instance, [Major] Cineplex,” said Peyronnet.

Peyronnet is hoping that the state of the art facilities will encourage audiences to watch more independent cinema. If their impressive launch series is anything to go by, it’s a target they shouldn’t struggle to meet.

Between the 17th and 20th of September, the Institute will be screening a carte blanche programme curated by celebrated filmmaker Rithy Panh.

The Panh-picked series will screen under the umbrella of Acts of Memory: a program commemorating the 40th anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh, coordinated by Seasons of Cambodia and encompassing the Bophana Centre, Cambodian Living Arts and now the French Institute.

The six films chosen for screening (there is one surprise yet to be announced) all emphasise the importance of documentary making as an act of memory.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Projectionist Sovann Vannara with his new toy. Kimberley McCosker

In Joshua Oppenheimer’s haunting duo The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence, the director confronts killers from the Indonesian genocide about their past.

Two films from Chilean director Patricio Guzmán: Salvador Allende and The Pinochet Case document the country’s two famous leaders.

Rithy Panh’s own The Missing Picture and France is Our Homeland will also be screened.

Peyronnet quotes Guzmán when asked about the significance of the series: “A country without documentaries is like a family without a photo album.”

Sann Vanna, who coordinates events related to the Acts of Memory program, said that it was through events such as the documentary screenings that the nebulous concepts of historical and collective memory could find definition.

“We talk about historical memory and [people ask] ‘what is that? How is that different from my memory every day?’” he said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Inside the French Institute cinema. Kimberley McCosker

“I think it’s through events that those concepts become clearer.”

The carte blanche screenings will be followed by Q&As, including a Skype conversation between Oppenheimer and Panh following The Look of Silence.

Once that series has concluded, more Q&A events with local film buffs are scheduled for the Institute’s newly launched ciné club.

But Peyronnet was quick to point out that intellectual stimulation won’t be the cinema’s only pursuit.

In October, they will be screening the much-anticipated Minions movie, because the little yellow creatures were initially conceived of (and voiced) by a Frenchman, Pierre Coffin.

“Of course, we are proud of it,” Peyronnet said, laughing. “In general, we are very proud of our animated movies. The French school is very well known.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and