The remarkable gendered renaissance of post–Khmer Rouge (KR) New Cambodian Cinema is evidenced in recent years through first- and second- generation post-traumatic films. This article analyzes one prominent example—Lida Chan and Guillaume P. Suon’s Noces Rouges (Red Wedding, Cambodia/France, 2012)—showing how the Cambodian genocide is for the first time dealt with as a gendered genocide, breaking the taboo issues of forced marriage (a unique form of genocide in the world) and rape. A detailed analysis of Red Wedding describes how the meaning of forced marriage and rape is framed by both the cinema and the relevant national and international discourses embodied by the KR tribunal (also known as the ECCC) and the controversies its proceedings caused. The article compares the cinematic testimony per se and that testimony transferred into legal testimony in court to reflect on the role of cinema in promoting women’s history. Furthermore, it raises highly controversial subjects, such as how to analyze the layers of gendered silencing surrounding both women’s traumatic history and women perpetrators of these sexual crimes; the influence of former KR cadres within current Cambodian society; and the necropolitical function of the killing fields as “truth spaces.” Female testimony, putting forth necrophagic ethics, ultimately becomes the foundation of traumatic history. The conclusion suggests that these intense, embodied first-generation memories resist remembering and instead continue to haunt the individual and the collective; it thus proposes some reflections on the unique role of gendered cinema in healing post- traumatic society in a postgenocide era.
Raya Morag; Gendered Genocide: New Cambodian Cinema and the Case of Forced Marriage and Rape. Camera Obscura 1 May 2020; 35 (1 (103)): 77–107. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-8085123
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