Tuesday, October 13, 2009

German Week of Film in Phnom Penh


The German Embassy in collaboration with the Goethe Institute and Meta House have organized the German Week of Film from the 5th to the 11th of October 2009. The Week consists of screenings at Lux Cinema and Meta House in Phnom Penh.

A total of 10 German films will be showed. The movies screened at Lux Cinema will be subtitled in Khmer. It will be the first time ever for German movies to be showed in Khmer. Toyland The Lives of Others and The Educators are all subtitled so that all Cambodians will be able to enjoy the German films.

The film week marks the 60th Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany. On the 3rd of October, German celebrated its National Day, on the 9th of November the fall of the Berlin Wall is celebrated. This event paved the way for the peaceful unification of East and West Germany. Frank M. Mann, German Ambassador said during his opening speech: “These are events which we would like to celebrate with our friends all over the world and the film festival which we are about to open today, is part of our efforts to reach out to you, our friends in Cambodia.”

Mann continued to say that 60 years of the Federal Republic of Germany represented 60 creative years of German film production as well. The topics of these films reflect the development of a democratic society which after the Second World War had to overcome many challenges.

“They are films which show the reconstruction of Germany, which had been destroyed in a devastating war that brought on so much grieve and destruction to all of Europe. They are films about formation of a new democratic society and the sometimes bitter discussion between the young and the old generation in Germany over the best way to progress,” the Ambassador said.

Nicolaus Mesterharm, Director of the Meta House, said that for Germany and for German citizens all around the world, 2009 is a very special year. He added that as part of the films celebration, the German Embassy, the Goethe Institute, and Meta House want to invite the Cambodian public to see ten cinema highlights from this period, in the German Week of Film.

“We have invited young Cambodian filmmakers to attend this event. Some of them are trained at the Meta House in the framework of the M.E.T.A. (Media Education and Training Academy) film school, which is also funded by the Goethe Institute,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a separate interview on October 6.

“If you want to become a good filmmaker, you have to watch films. This is how Meta House and the German Week of Films contribute directly to the development of the Cambodian film scene,” he added.

Som Sokun, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA), was happy to see the German Week of Film in Cambodia. He said that so far, the Federal Republic of Germany has been assisting Cambodian government in two key important sectors, rural development and the reduction of poverty in Cambodia. He added that the celebration of the German Week of Film will promote and develop film industry in Cambodia in future.

To promote traditional culture and arts in Cambodia, Nicolaus Mesterharm said that his organization planed to organize a cinema tour through other cities in Cambodia with a selection of German films in Khmer language in 2010.

“We promote the friendship between Cambodia and Germany with many cultural events (films, concerts, art exhibitions) in Phnom Penh. We love Cambodia and the Khmer people. Besides all the work it is fun to work especially with the young generation, who want to learn about arts and culture from Germany. We ask everybody to visit Meta House and get to know us and our interesting activities. Don't be shy - we can all learn from each other. And it’s for free,” he said.

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