Program #06: June 14 - 21 Coalesce

Three young people, three perspectives, three routes. Songsa, an introverted teenager, is sent to the capital by his family to sell clothes in a tuk-tuk. Phearum goes into debt to buy a taxi and confronts the unexpected. Thy dives into the nightlife and dreams of joining a biker crew. Three ways of living, three destinies, three looks. Coalesce draws a portrait of a youth that faces a fast changing world.

  • Sek Songsa, Eang Phearum, Rom Rithy, Vann Lek, Nicol Bear
  • Jesse Miceli
  • Jesse Miceli
  • Cambodia
  • 82 minutes
  • R
  • Director Statement Cambodia is a very fast developing country in total mutation. In an extraordinary short time, traditional tuk tuks have been replaced by online taxi booking companies. The little beach town that was Sihanoukville 3 years ago counts now more than 50 Chinese casinos sheltered by skyscrapers covered in flashing neon signs. Where streets were sometimes still in the dark by night in the Phnom Penh I discovered almost 7 years ago, are now high-rise buildings, new towns and residential complexes that have mushroomed all around, enlightening the streets with powerful giant LED screens and colourful lighting chains coiled around trees and poles. Under those dreamlike city lights, thousands of young people are chasing the dream of a better life for themselves and their families, a high-speed dream in which survival and consumerism coexist, inviting them to catch up on the development of a city growing faster than themselves. It is this dream that I want to show in Coalesce, the aspiration of young people to find their place in this mutating environment, the need to adapt, the struggle to live up to their family’s and society’s expectations,the fear to see the dream turning into a nightmare if they fail to be a part of it. Despite the cultural and geopolitical peculiarities, the hope and fears of the young Khmer people thrown into an aggressive race for money and survival, their struggles and desires, their needs and interests are universal. However, the uncommon rapidity of changes operating there boosts and increases the dramatic potential. What makes a difference in telling this story in Cambodia stands also in the cinematographic possibilities offered by the contrast between the slowness of the countryside and the speed of the city, the dark and the bright, the past and the future rushing into the lives of people not always prepared for it. Shot on a tight budget, entirely with a Cambodian crew, Coalesce opens, I believe, a window on the situation of a country that is at the heart of the current upheavals shaking the world. Through the eyes of the protagonists, the film also shows a country taken between its post colonial dependence to Westerners involved in the local economy and the growing influence of China driven by its will of expansion. Caught in the crossfire, millions of young Khmers struggle to just support themselves and their family while the economy is booming around them, leaving them on the edge.
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About PrideFLIX; The Virtual LGBTQ+ Pride Film Festival

PrideFLIX; The Virtual LGBTQ+ Pride Film Festival