Showing @ CCA, Glasgow, Sun 12 Oct only @ 12.00
Jan van de Berg / Netherlands / 2014 / 25 mins
In the UK, the dramatic rise of those dependent on food banks is increasingly concerning. However, in Cambodia nearly three quarters of the arable land has been sold off to foreign investors, who export any food grown. This is a huge problem for people like newlyweds ‘Moon’ and Bunsan, as it becomes ever more difficult to grow their own produce. Jan van de Berg’s documentary highlights the struggles of independent farmers who are having their land taken away from them and the abhorrent conditions of those who toil away on the plantations.
The film splices scenes of the couple’s marriage preparations and celebrations with interviews with local farmers and labourers struggling to make ends meet. The wedding plot emphasises how important food is for the local populace; meal offerings are made to Buddhist monks for good luck and the tasting of fruits by the different families is part of the ceremony.
By providing this double narrative thread, Berg’s layers the political issue with a strong sense of human interest. Those affected are no longer just generic talking heads but people like that of the couple we have come to know. There is often a danger with these kinds of documentaries of feeling disconnected but by having Moon, with whom a sense of connection has been established, conduct the interviews, it forges a sense of empathy with all those concerned.