Anyone who’s ever doubted if rock ’n’ roll is an international language should check out “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll,” a documentary that will be screened July 1 at the Plaza Theatre.
Director John Pirozzi’s film chronicles Cambodia’s vibrant pop music scene of the 1950s and ’60s that was largely wiped out after the arrival of the Khmer Rouge in 1975.
Atlanta’s Dust-to-Digital label, best known for its reissues of American roots and folk music, recently released the 20-song “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten” soundtrack. Many of the tracks are available outside of Cambodia for the first time. The CD includes a 36-page booklet featuring liner notes by Pirozzi and the film’s researcher, LinDa Saphan.
After almost a century under French control, Cambodia became independent in 1953, and its emerging generations of musicians increasingly merged American, British, French and Latin influences with hypnotic Cambodian rhythms. The profusion of music that resulted ranged from the crooning of Sinn Sisamouth to the female rock vocals of Ros Serey Sothea to the surf guitar music of the band Baksey Cham Krong.
The musicians were silenced, and many killed, during the Khmer Rouge’s four-year reign.
“We are just like everybody else,” Mol Kagnol, Baksey Cham Krong’s lead guitarist, now 69 and living in Arizona, told The New York Times. “We have electric guitars. We can jump, we can dance, we can be happy. The Khmer Rouge destroyed all of that.”
Reviewers have noted that the film is more celebration than commemoration. See for yourself at the 7 p.m. July 1 screening at the Plaza. $10. 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-873-1939, plazaatlanta.com.
Out on Film reveals first titles of October fest
Out On Film has announced its first two titles for the 28th annual Atlanta LGBT film festival, Oct. 1-8 at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema:
- “Out to Win” is director Malcolm Ingram’s documentary examining of the experiences of gay and lesbian athletes including Martina Navratilova, former Atlanta Hawk Jason Collins, Billy Bean and Brittney Griner.
- “Addicted to Fresno” is a dark comedy starring Natasha Lyonne (“Orange Is the New Black”) and Judy Greer (“Tomorrowland”) as co-dependent sisters and hotel maids whose lives gets further complicated by their attempts to cover up an accidental crime. It’s directed by Jamie Babbit, whose credits include the upcoming HBO series “Brothers in Atlanta.”
The full fest schedule will be announced in late August. www.outonfilm.org.