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Review: Sleepwalking Through the Mekong - all weekend long at the Red Vic!

Written By vibykhmer on Thursday, August 27, 2009 | 6:36 PM


August 26

Sleepwalking Through the Mekong chronicles the journey of the band Dengue Fever as they travel through Cambodia playing their version of Cambodian rock tunes from the 60s and 70s. The viewer is treated to snippets of Cambodian culture, fun interactions between the band members, and panoramic views of the countryside.

As the film unfolds, it becomes clear that Sleepwalking Through the Mekong is more than a documentary about rock band Dengue Fever - it is a poignant celebration of Cambodian music and culture. The joy of the music created in Cambodia in the 60s and 70s is interwoven with the tragedy that cut it short - the Khmer Rouge. The film captures not only Dengue Fever's live shows in bars, schools, and festivals, but also people's reaction to hearing this music again. One interviewee who lived through the Khmer Rouge goes so far as to say it is good to hear old songs being played because it has a healing effect.

Other moments in the film show the depth of the damage done by the Khmer Rouge. In one scene it is explained that most masters of different Cambodian arts and musical instruments were killed, meaning that Cambodia could lose most of its culture very soon.

Mixed in throughout Sleepwalking Through the Mekong are anecdotes and interviews with the band members that show the depth of this group's passion for the music they play. One of the most touching elements of the film is the way in which two vastly different cultures (Cambodian and American) are able to find common ground through the music of Dengue Fever.

This is not a film you want to miss out on - you can find a screening near you by going to the website for the film - ".Sleepwalking Through the Mekong.""

Or, if you're here in San Francisco you can see them all week long at the Red Vic:

Red Vic Movie House - Screenings of Sleepwalking Through the Mekong
August 30, 2:00, 4:00, 7:15, 9:15
August 29, 2:00, 4:00, 7:15, 9:15
August 28, 7:15, 9:15
August 27, 7:15, 9:15
1727 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 668-3994

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