Our Favorite Khmer Movie: Top 10 Picks For You To Discover


There is no better joy than finding a country whose films one does not know and spending time delving through the archives. Well, Khmer drama certainly didn’t disappoint one in this aspect. So this time, we will explore films produced in Cambodia and ask you to join us in finding your favorite Khmer movie.

Despite the challenges the country has faced, Cambodian filmmakers have managed to create remarkable works. So, do go through the blog below and let us know in the comments if you agree with our pick of the top 10 Cambodian flicks.

The Missing Picture (2013)

Kicking off the list of our favorite Khmer movies is a film about the Khmer Rouge (1975-79) directed by Rithy Panh. “The Missing Picture” is a highly acclaimed documentary that grabbed a slew of top movie awards and explores Cambodia’s tragic history during the Khmer Rouge regime. The film combines real footage with meticulously crafted clay figurines to recreate the memories of survivors who lived through this dark period. Panh’s innovative approach not only sheds light on a painful chapter but also symbolizes the power of art as a means of remembrance and healing.

First They Killed My Father (2017)

This is another film based on the darkest period of Cambodia’s history. Directed by Angelina Jolie, this film is an adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir, depicting her childhood experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime. The movie aims to capture the emotional journey of survival and loss, portraying the complexities of war through the eyes of a young girl. Jolie’s direction and the cast’s performances add authenticity to this poignant tale.

Jailbreak (2017)

For those seeking an adrenaline-pumping experience while having a lot of fun, “Jailbreak” offers a blend of action, comedy, and martial arts. Directed by Jimmy Henderson, the film revolves around a group of police officers trapped in a prison full of deadly criminals. This exhilarating ride showcases Cambodia’s growing capabilities in the action genre and introduces viewers to the country’s dynamic film industry.

The Last Reel (2014)

In “The Last Reel,” director Kulikar Sotho crafts a gripping narrative that intertwines personal struggles with Cambodia’s cinematic heritage. The film follows a young woman who discovers an old film reel amidst the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime. As she explores her parents’ past, she unveils a tale of love and sacrifice. This movie serves as a tribute to the role of cinema in Cambodian culture.

Khmer Movie ling app

A River Changes Course (2012)

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, “A River Changes Course” by Kalyanee Mam offers a deep exploration of Cambodia’s environmental and societal changes. The documentary follows the lives of three individuals affected by deforestation and modernization, reflecting the delicate balance between progress and tradition.

Rice People (1994)

Directed by Rithy Panh, “Rice People” delves into the struggles of a rural Cambodian family during the 1970s. The film captures the intricate relationship between humans and nature, centring on the family’s battle to cultivate their rice fields amidst challenging circumstances. With its poetic storytelling, the movie provides a profound reflection on resilience and unity. This is a movie Khmer people and international audiences can appreciate.

The Gate (2014)

Directed by Régis Wargnier, “The Gate” presents a captivating love story set against the backdrop of Cambodia’s cultural renaissance. The film showcases the blossoming romance between an archaeologist and a dancer during the 1960s, providing a glimpse into a vibrant era before the devastation caused by subsequent events.

Diamond Island (2016)

“Diamond Island,” directed by Davy Chou, offers a fresh perspective on urbanization and youth culture in Cambodia. The film follows a young man navigating life in a rapidly changing Phnom Penh. Through its dynamic visuals and relatable characters, the movie captures the aspirations and challenges faced by the country’s youth.

Poppy Goes To Hollywood (2016)

This heartwarming comedy, directed by Sok Visal, tells the story of a Cambodian farmer who accidentally ends up in Hollywood after winning a green card lottery. “Poppy Goes to Hollywood” provides a lighthearted take on cultural differences, highlighting the humour and challenges of adjusting to life in the United States.

The Witch (2015)

Directed by Huy Yaleng, “The Witch” delves into the realm of horror and superstition in rural Cambodia. This eerie tale revolves around a mysterious and malevolent force that terrorizes a remote village. The film draws inspiration from traditional Cambodian folklore while offering a unique take on the horror genre.

Khmer Movie ling app

Khmer Movie Vocabulary To Use At The Cinema

Movieភាពយន្តPheap Yon
Directorអ្នកដឹកនាំរឿងNeak Doek Noam Roeang
Actorតួសម្ដែងបុរសTuo Samdaeng Boros
Actressតួសម្ដែងស្ត្រីTuo Samdaeng Strei
CinemaរោងកុនRoung Kon
Editingកែសម្រួលKae Samruol
Producerអ្នកផលិតNeak Pollet
Studioស្ទូឌីយ៉ូStu Di You
Screenផ្ទាំងអេក្រង់Phtoang Ekrang
Premiereចាប់បញ្ចាំងChab Banhchang
Audienceអ្នកទស្សនាNeak Tossana
Soundtrackខ្សែអាត់សម្លេងKhsae At Samleng
Movie StarsតួកុនTuo Kon

Cambodian cinema has evolved significantly over the years, capturing the nation’s complex history, cultural identity, and societal changes. The top 10 movies listed above represent just a fraction of the incredible cinematic achievements that Cambodia has to offer. From documentaries that shed light on the past to contemporary tales of love, resilience, and transformation, these films provide a window into the diverse narratives that define this captivating country. Whether you’re a film enthusiast or simply curious about Cambodia’s heritage, exploring these movies is a journey well worth undertaking.

Enjoy More Foreign Films With Ling

Learning Khmer is a daunting task for the beginner. However, by watching Khmer movies you will quickly pick up words and phrases and better than that you will learn how to pronounce them like a local. With Ling, you will get everything you need to progress with this fabulous language – from lessons set by native speakers to fun games and quizzes to keep you going. Check out the Ling app at Google Play and the App Store and download it today!

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