The film In the Life of Music co-directed by Caylee So and Sok Visal, that follows a family’s life over three generations affected by the reign of the Khmer Rouge, was selected by the Cambodia Oscar Selection Committee (COSC) to represent Cambodia in the International Feature Film category at the 92nd Academy Awards.
In the Life of Music explores love, war and a family’s relationship over three generations, depicting the lives of people whose world is inevitably transformed by the emergence of the Khmer Rouge regime.
An important part of In the Life of Music is Champa Battambang, a love song made famous by Sinn Sisamouth, one of Cambodia’s most influential singers in the 1950s until the 1970s.
Sisamouth’s songs are still widely played, especially by middle-aged people fond of the Kingdom’s golden era of music, and continue to be sung or played at almost every wedding reception and all kinds of gatherings across Cambodia.
Champa Battambang describes a man who falls in love with a woman in Battambang Province but suffers a broken heart and cannot forget her after he is forced to leave.
The song was the key inspiration for the story that explores the lives of people before and after the civil war – but the film is based on the collective experience of all Cambodians rather than portraying a single life story.
The first of three chapters begins in 1976, a year after the Khmer Rouge took over the country. It is followed by stories from 1986 and then finally from 2006-2007.
The film stars Vannarith Phem (Chy), Arn Chorn-Pond (Mith), Ellen Wong (Hope), and Sreynan Chea (Phally).