Saturday, November 05, 2011

A moment of cognitive dissonance

I was reminded recently of an unexpectedly diverting – compellingly atmospheric – thriller I  chanced upon a few years ago, Matt Dillon’s 2002 directorial debut City of Ghosts. Dillon plays a con man who journeys to Cambodia on the trail of the mentor/father-figure who left him carrying the can for a boiler-room insurance scam back in the States. It has that Graham Greene-ish magic of portraying a developing country as thoroughly corrupt, squalid, and dangerous – and yet making you want to go there anyway.

One of the film’s many incidental delights is the end credit music, provided by a band called Dengue Fever (and what a great band name that is!), an LA outfit who play ‘Cambodian pop’. Here, from City of Ghosts, is their Cambodian frontwoman Chhom Nimol singing Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now in her native Khmer language. It stopped me dead in my tracks.

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