Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten is the new documentary by John Pirozzi that highlights the overlooked rock ’n’ roll music scene that surfaced in Cambodia during the 1960s and 1970s. The documentary, which is set to screen at FilmBar between May 28 and May 30, celebrates the Cambodian musicians who carefully crafted their own style of music inspired by Westernized rock, but made original by female vocals and rhythms and melodies traditional of Cambodian music.
The film shows a different side to the “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” scene associated with America. It is an exploration into Cambodia’s music culture and its significance in the past and present. After all, these artists were making musical harmony during a time of social discord:
On the left, Prince Sihanouk joined forces with the Khmer Rouge and rallied the rural population to take up arms against the government that deposed him. On the right, the Cambodian military, with American military support, waged a war that involved a massive aerial bombing campaign on the countryside. In the end, after winning the civil war, the Khmer Rouge turned their deadly focus to the culture of Cambodia.
After taking over the country on April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge began wiping out all traces of modernity and Western influence. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were specifically and systematically targeted and eliminated. Thus began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing an estimated two million people – a quarter of the Cambodian population.
Watch the trailer for the film below and see a full list of screening dates and venues here…