Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Thai film about a Cambodian king

A proposed Thai-produced documentary about the Khmer Empire's greatest ruler, Jayavarman VII, is causing concern in the Cambodian media.

It's the latest dust-up for Thai-Cambodian relations, which have been on the rocky side in recent years, and Thai cultural exports have been at the root of the disputes.

In 2003, riots erupted in Phnom Penh when a Cambodian newspaper printed falsely attributed quotes from Thai soap opera actress Suvanant Kongying, who was alleged to have said Angkor belonged to Thailand and had been stolen by Cambodia. Things quickly got out of hand. Thailand's fairly new embassy was burned and several Thai-owned businesses were ransacked.

Last year, there was the debacle that was Ghost Game - a crass slasher about a fictional reality game set in what was unmistakably the former Khmer Rouge torture center of Tuol Sleng.

This time around, Thai diplomats are working overtime to assure the Cambodians of their best intentions, saying that an (unnamed) Thai production company is seeking to make the documentary, but will do so only if it receives Cambodian technical assistance, and if the plan is opposed, they'll drop the project.

More information:(Photo credit: Egui via Flickr)

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