Film Review: Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll


Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll

ARGOT PICTURES

On the surface, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten is a film about the flourishing rock movement that emerged following Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953. Director John Pirozzi saturates the first half with vintage footage of Cambodia’s ’50s and ’60s music scene, interspersing it with interviews with musicians who survived the ensuing horrors and relatives of those who didn’t. The infectious music blends Chuck Berry-like riffs with haunting traditional melodies. And even though you know it’s coming, the progression of coups, bombings, and genocide is shattering. “If you want to eliminate values from past societies,” notes a member of the Cambodian royal family ousted in a US-sponsored coup, “you have to eliminate the artists.”

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  • Luke Whelan is an editorial fellow at Mother Jones whose work has appeared in Grist and Vermont's Burlington Free Press. He enjoys road biking and working on his Chinese.