Chaplin films, which were screened on the grounds of local Buddhist temples or Wats, attracted over 2000 people at each site. (U.S. Embassy Photo)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Feb. 1, 2010) – Silent films have an international language all of their own, and that was illustrated last week with several Charley Chaplin film screenings in Cambodia.
The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh reports that its Public Affairs bureau and the Bophana Center together hosted a Movie Night for the northern Cambodian town of Battambong on January 29 – 30. The U.S. Embassy, in partnership with the Bophana Center, screened a series of Charlie Chaplin films – perhaps to get huge audiences together for other public information spots.
Around 2,000 people attended each of the screening held on the grounds of local Buddhist temples or Wats. The crowds reportedly loved the films, which included, “The Kid” (1921) and “The Rink” (1916). The Embassy said the people responded to the films in much the same way that audiences may have nearly 100 years ago when they were originally screened.
The evening also included Chaplin-esque performances by Phare Ponleu Selapak, a local Battambong organization that teaches young Cambodians how to be circus performers, actors and gymnasts.
The film screenings provided a unique opportunity for the Embassy to share American culture and the arts with townspeople that would not normally come to U.S. sponsored events in Phnom Penh or at the local American Corner.