Vicheka wakes up in hospital, adrift in a world of dreams and memories. With the help of a local nurse, he sets about piecing together the fragments of his past that have led him back to the city of his childhood. Boren Chhith’s delicate drama observes the interplay between personal trauma and national transformation, visualised through the shifting urban landscapes of contemporary Cambodia.
Chhith’s writing and directorial debut Golden Dragon announces him as a distinctive voice in fiction filmmaking, and is another high calibre work from the Cambodian film production powerhouse Anti-Archive, whose works were spotlighted in a BFMAF 2022 Focus programme. Set in Sihanoukville, a coastal city that has undergone rapid redevelopment following heavy Chinese investment, Vicheka returns to honour the memory of his late father yet finds the city in a state of construction and abandonment. Its languid pace allows us to linger in reflective moments along with our protagonist, whether gazing upon a brutalist concrete landscape, or the lapping of waves as the sun sets over the beach. A restrained and skilfully crafted drama, Golden Dragon is a poetic evocation of the way in which memories can crash vividly and unexpectedly into our waking reality. (Alice Miller)
Boren Chhith (b. 1989, Battambang, Cambodia), trained in circus and theatre before takling his first steps in film in 2013 as a 3rd assistant director for Régis Warnier’s Time for Confessions. After a year of film school at Cinécréatis Nantes, Boren entered the French film industry and has since worked as 3rd assistant on several films: Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet), Onoda 10000 Nights in the Jungle (Arthur Harari), and more. Neak Meas is his first film as writer and director.
Golden Dragon (2023)