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Ref ID: 27936
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Christopherson, Scott
Title: Lao filmmakers break free from their cultural chains
Date: 2015
Source: Journal of Lao Studies
Abstract: In this paper I analyze the evolution of Lao National Cinema by looking at several films, including: <i>Xieng Peun Chak Thong Hai Hin (The Sound of Gunfire from the Plain of Jars), Boua Deng (Red Lotus) Pai Thang (At the Horizon)</i>, and the Academy Award nominee <i>Neerakhoon (The Betrayal)</i>. I argue that since 1975, the Lao PDR government has acted as a hegemonic force, controlling the content and creative decisions of Lao film directors. Before the death of Kaysone Phomvihane in 1992, all feature films produced in Laos were propagandistic. Since his death and the collapse of communism in Europe, Lao films have slowly included more representations of religion and spirituality. Though films today still must pass through the Lao PDR Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism and receive a stamp of approval before before being distributed and broadcast, the tight grip and control of the government has relaxed somewhat. Only recently, with the government's more tolerant views toward the international capitalist market, Lao filmmakers are beginning to tell stories free of complete government control. This has led to a slowly evolving yet unique Lao National Cinema, not quite liberated from the oppressive creative cultural constraints of the political past, but with less creative control exercised by the Lao government. Though present-day Laos is more relaxed than it was in 1975, filmmakers must still navigate a difficult path as they try to create and publish their films.
Date Created: 4/14/2015
Page Start: 98
Page End: 112