This soulful, heavy hearted drama tells a story of gentrification and neighborhood displacement in Cambodia. It’s a fictional story about the real-life White Building, an iconic modernist house block inbuilt 1963 within the centre of Phnom Penh and demolished in 2017. The movie’s director, Kavich Neang, has a private connection: he grew up within the White Constructing and opens his movie with a rare drone shot that floats above the constructing’s roof. From this angle the mosaic of chipped tiles and rusted corrugated sheets seems to be unusually lovely: a metaphor maybe for the White Constructing itself, which is crumbling and never match for habitation, however nonetheless house to a vibrant numerous neighborhood, everybody fortunately jostling within the corridors.
Neang’s story is a couple of boy’s coming of age as his household is evicted. Piseth Chhun offers a delicate efficiency as Nang, who firstly of the film, bleached streaks in his hair, goals of boyband-style fame together with his hip-hop dance squad, which is mainly him and two mates. He lives together with his mum and sculptor dad within the constructing, whose residents are being pushed out so property builders can transfer in. The miserably low payoff will power most of them out of town, the place home costs are skyrocketing.
The movie follows Nang as he matures from boy to man. His dad is spokesman for the tenants’ affiliation, and there are bad-tempered conferences about whether or not to simply accept the eviction deal. Then the constructing’s water provide is switched off. Worryingly, Nang’s dad has an contaminated huge toe, which seems to be gangrenous, a complication of diabetes; the blackening spreads just like the mould on the house’s ceiling.
This can be a gentle-going watch, understated – underpowered even – and typically just a little drowsy. Nonetheless, it has actual sensitivity and perception into the transition to maturity, as progressively it dawns on Nang that his mother and father don’t have all of the solutions.