Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kulikar to continue shooting after The Last Reel




Kulikar to continue shooting after The Last Reel

Sotho Kulikar will start shooting a new film tomorrow.
Sotho Kulikar will start shooting a new film tomorrow. Athena Zelandonii

Kulikar to continue shooting after The Last Reel

Cambodian director Sotho Kulikar will step back behind the camera tomorrow for the first time since finishing her award-winning debut feature The Last Reel as she begins principal photography on her second film, Beyond the Bridge, with a quick 10-day shooting schedule.

The Last Reel – scripted by UK screenwriter Ian Masters – placed the first-time filmmaker in the international spotlight, winning the Spirit of Asia Award at the 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival and serving as Cambodia’s submission for the foreign-language Academy Award last year.

This time around, Kulikar penned the story herself, and has turned the lens beyond the Kingdom. Like The Last Reel, it spans the decades.

“It’s a Japanese story set in Cambodia,” the director explained in an interview this week. “It’s a love story that evolves with the [Cambodia-Japan Friendship] Bridge that was built in the 1960s, destroyed, and then rebuilt.”

Beyond the Bridge is one of three 30-minute films created in a collaboration with two other Asian directors, Ma Mendoza (Philippines) and Isao Yusikada (Japan). The filmmakers met up in Tokyo last year to brainstorm ideas, and the stories share a common thread – though Kulikar remained mum on the details.

The project, the Asian Three-fold Mirror, is organised by the Japan Foundation and the Tokyo International Film Festival, where the omnibus film will premiere in October. Each smaller piece features a mix of dialogue in the director’s native tongue and in English.

Likewise, Kulikar’s new film will be a collaboration between cultures. The crew is both Cambodian and Japanese, and designers have constructed a set in Phnom Penh to depict the parts of the story that take place in Japan.

Beyond the Bridge stars Japanese actor Masaya Kato as Fukuda, who first travels to Phnom Penh in the 1960s, and newcomer Chumvan Sodhachivy as his Cambodian love interest, Mealea. Kulikar was sure that Kato would resonate with a local audience. “Everyone Cambodian knows him,” she said.

The film features three decades in Cambodian and Japanese history: the ’60s, ’70s and ’90s. Kulikar said she had spent her nights this week selecting archival footage, secured from both the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) and Japan’s public broadcasting corporation, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), in order to set the scene.

Kulikar added that Beyond the Bridge would also draw heavily on Japanese cinema for influence.

“Since a very young age, I was fascinated by Japanese movies,” she said, before rattling off the names of Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu as early influences. Lately, Kulikar’s been studying the works of her contemporaries, like Naomi Kawase.

The filmmaker said she had drawn on the “Japanese way of storytelling” in The Last Reel and that she hoped to veer in that direction again in Beyond the Bridge, adopting the realism of Japan’s “golden years”.

“Japanese cinema is very unique,” Kulikar said. “They don’t like exaggeration. I think that’s what I like about it.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that