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Bong Thom [The Brother]

Synopsis

Heng lives with his close knit deeply Buddhist family in rural Cambodia, who work hard struggling as farmers. At 6, he lost both his arms in a landmine explosion. Now, as a teenager  hanging with the wrong crowd, and no future at the farm, his mother sends him to his older brother, Chana, who makes romantic music videos in the bustling city of Phnom Penh. Here, with a bossy brother, amid a So-Me, “wanna-be” culture, Heng must make it.
A film about a family who are living the consequences of war which ended decades ago. 

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AWARDS & NOMINATIONS:

NOMINATED GOLDEN DRAGON AWARD - NORDIC COMPETITION PROGRAM

at GÖTEBORG FILM FESTIVAL - Göteborg, Sweden - February 2023

NOMINATED BEST DOCUMENTARY - NORWEGIAN COMPETITION PROGRAM

at HUMAN IDFF - Oslo, Norway - March 2023

WINNER SIGNS AWARD - DOCUMENTARY SECTION

Festival International Signes de Nuit - December 2023

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Watch our trailer:

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         Director's Statement

Being from a war-torn country and dealing with post-war themes has been my focus and a great challenge.  I visited Cambodia in 2011 when I was researching what was to become the film Nowhere to Hide (2016) which ended up following a male nurse and his family in Iraq. The trip to Cambodia opened my eyes, and also devastated me. On that visit I had met our protagonist Heng and his family. The images of the young severely injured boy stayed with me, an illustration of what it’s like living the consequences of a war that ended decades ago.


What I found out about Heng exceeded all my expectations for amputees in the developing world. Heng had escaped an almost predestined fate. How was this possible? In 2017, after spending a year of research and gaining trust within the community, I spent 3-4 years filming with unique intimate ,SAS access to Heng, his older brother Chana, their parents, and friends. What I uncovered was a fantastic insight into a postwar era through this family’s story, where war is still present despite many years of peace; a family drawn between the old and new Cambodia.

Format & Length

Duration | 84 min / 52 min Broadcast Hour

Format | UHD, DCP

Aspect Ratio | 16:9

Sound | 5.1 Surround, Stereo

Languages | Khmer with English & Norwegian subtitles

 

Production | Ten Thousand Images

Mette Cheng-Munthe Kaas

mette@tenthousandimages.no

 

Distribution | East Village Entertainment

Diana Holtzberg

diana@eastvillageentertainment.com

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Credits

Director

Zaradasht Ahmed

 

Producer

Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas

 

International Co-Producers

Corinne van Egeraat - ZIN Documentaire (the Netherlands)

Marina-Evelina Cracana - Film and Tell (Sweden)

Oscar Hedin - Film and Tell (Sweden)

 

Executive Producer

Diana Holtzberg

Cinematographer

Zaradasht Ahmed

 

Editor

Eva Hillström

Composer

Cicely Irvine

2nd Unit Cinematographer

Petr Lom

Sound Design
Filmreaktor

Grade Post Production

Amator

Production Company

Ten Thousand Images AS

 

Financed by

Norwegian Film Institute
Filmkraft Rogaland
Netherlands Film Fund
Fritt Ord Foundation
Swedish Film Institute
Fond for Lyd og Bilde
Viken Filmsenter
Mediefondet Zefyr
SVT
Bergesenstiftelsen

Reviews

"The portrait of the two brothers who seek their place in Cambodian society while one of them suffered from his youngest age the consequences of the war, question our ability to live after collective traumas. How far must we go from the world we come from to finally become ourselves?"

Jury Statement, 7 Festival internazionale Segni della Notte, Urbino, Italy
 

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