5+ Khmer Actresses To Enjoy Watching Today


Khmer actresses have always been at the forefront of the challenges faced by the Cambodian film industry. They have managed to leave an indelible mark through their undeniable artistry and resilience. So, let’s explore the remarkable journeys of some of the most prominent Khmer actresses, highlighting their achievements, notable roles, tragedies, and impact on local and international cinema.

Stars Of The Golden Age

Dy Saveth

No discussion on Cambodian actresses would be complete without mentioning the legendary Dy Saveth. A former Miss Cambodia, Saveth gained prominence during the golden era of Cambodian cinema in the 1960s and early 1970s. Her talent and grace made her a household name, and she became the quintessential symbol of Cambodian beauty and acting prowess.

The actress starred in movies including “Twilight”(1969), “Bopha Angkor” (1972), and “Snake Girl”(1974). These films were produced by none other than royal film enthusiast King Norodom Sihanouk. Saveth managed to escape the Khmer Rouge regime by fleeing to France but made a triumphant return to her home country and the big screen in 1993. In 2014, she starred in the multi-award-winning “The Last Reel” and continues to contribute to the revitalization of Cambodian cinema.

Vichara Dany

A popular actress from the golden age of Cambodian cinema, Vichara Dany is credited with more than 100 movie roles. Among her hit titles are “Sovann Pancha” (1970), “Tep Sodachan” (1968), and “Thavory Meas Bing”, (a popular melodramatic film of the late 1960s). Although the details are sketchy, it appears Dany, like so many in the entertainment industry, died soon after the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia.

Virak Dara

Born in 1947, Virak Dara was another actress who found fame during the height of the Khmer film industry during the 1960s and early 1970s. She played the role of Kong Rey in the 1967 film “Puthisean Neang Kong Rey,” the film that continues to hold the title of Cambodia’s biggest-ever movie. In 1971, she starred in An Euil Srey An, another huge hit. Unfortunately, the arrival of the Khmer Rouge put a halt to everything, and three of her movies were never released as the regime destroyed them. She fled Southeast Asia with her husband in 1977.

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A New Generation Of Khmer Actresses

Piseth Pilika

The much-loved actress started out as a ballet dancer and became a household name in Cambodia throughout the ’80s and ’90s because of her numerous film roles and her appearances in thousands of Karaoke videos. Her career was tragically cut short in 1999 when she was shot and killed in Phnom Penh. She was only 34 years old.

Bérénice Marlohe

It doesn’t get much bigger than Bond, and half-French, half-Cambodian actress Bérénice Marlohe shot to stardom in Skyfall (2012), as anti-heroine Sévérine opposite Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem. Marlohe began her movie career when she appeared in the 2007 short “La Discordance.” She then went on to appear in a number of French television series, including “R.I.S, police scientifique.” In 2017 Marlohe was cast alongside Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, and Cate Blanchett in Terrence Malick’s romantic drama “Song to Song.”

Élodie Yung

A French actress who has a Cambodian father, Elodie Young is a true Hollywood star. Born on 22 February 1981 in Paris, Yung graduated from the University of Paris with a law degree. Although she originally had her sights set on becoming a judge, Yung later chose to take up acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. The actress has already wowed audiences with her appearances in blockbusters including “District 13: Ultimatum” (2009), “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (2013), and “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo” (2011). In 2022, Yung began starring in Fox’s crime drama series “The Cleaning Lady.” In 2018, she was appointed patron of the Cambodian International Film Festival.

Sveng Socheata

Sveng Socheata hit the big time when she was chosen by Angelina Jolie to star in her 2017 movie “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers.” She has also starred in “Mind Cage” (2016), a psychological thriller, and Rudolf Buitendach’s horror flick, “Hex” (2018).

Denny Kwan

Actress Denny Kwan grabbed international attention when, in April 2017, Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts imposed a year-long ban on her appearing in any movies. The reason? Her clothes were deemed by the board to be ‘too sexy.’ The ban has since been lifted. Spokesman of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Thai Norak Satya, was reported in The Phnom Penh Post (14 May 2018) as saying: “Her attitude has changed, and she has engaged in social and humanitarian works. Therefore, we decided that we would lift the ban.”

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A Bright Future

Cambodian actresses have played an instrumental role in shaping the country’s cinematic landscape. From the trailblazing talents of Dy Saveth and Virak Dara to rising stars like Sveng Socheata, Elodie Yung, and Denny Kwan, these actresses have not only entertained audiences but also acted as catalysts for change. Their resilience and determination in the face of adversity have allowed them to overcome challenges, whether it be the rise of a brutal regime or the outdated attitudes of a democratic government. As Cambodian cinema continues to evolve and flourish, Cambodia’s actresses will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in driving its growth and inspiring future generations of performers.

Adjectives To Use When Describing Cambodian Movies

Controversialចម្រូង​ចម្រាស់Chamroung​ chamreasa
Drearyគួរឱ្យខ្លាចKuor aoy khlach
Grippingការក្តាប់Kar ktab
Hilariousគួរឱ្យអស់សំណើចKuor aoy asasaamnaech
Intriguingគួរឱ្យចាប់អារម្មណ៍Kuor aoy chabarommo

Learn More Khmer With Ling App

If you want to learn more Khmer, Ling app is the one-stop solution you are looking for. Ling app offers language learning through lessons set by native speakers. Download Ling app to your phone today at App Store or Google Play.

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