Saturday, November 04, 2006

Famous Khmer movie idols

Whilst surfing the net for information on Dy Saveth, I entered the world of the famous Khmer movie idols of the '60s and '70s, and in particular, the gorgeous Vichara Dany (pictured), who made 100's of films during those golden years of Cambodian movie-making but lost her life during the Khmer Rouge years, and actor Chea Yuthon. Whilst Vichara Dany was a darling of film fans in Cambodia, both Dy Saveth and Chea Yuthon were particularly well-known in neighbouring Thailand, mainly for their starring roles in the Pos Keng Kong (Snake Girl) movie, that spawned two follow-on films and an updated remake in the last few years. Its a Khmer folk tale that is loved in both countries.

The story behind Chea Yuthon is particularly intriguing, though I have only part of the story. There were rumours that he was still alive today and living in Thailand, his adopted country, but this is now believed to be false. The story goes that when the Khmer Rouge captured him and the Thais heard about it, they traded his life for a thousand trucks of oil that the Khmer Rouge badly needed. He was likened to a Khmer version of Jackie Chan due to his martial art skills. After a spell in China as a student, instead of becoming a civil engineer as was expected, he came back home to become a movie star and a martial arts expert. If anyone has more information about Vichara Dany or Chea Yuthon, please let me know.


M|O|N|G|K|O|L said...

I wish the rumor were true cos Chea Yuthon's son is still alive in Cambodia. He is raising around 15 orphans even though he is very poor. As I remember, he also appeared in one or two movies.

Andy said...

After a bit more digging on the web I found out that in 2005 the surviving son, Thorn Tharith, of Chea Yuthon and his wife Som Vansodany, also a famous actress of her time, has made a Khmer movie of the story of his parents and his survival of the Khmer Rouge period. The film is called Chheam Anatha (The blood of an orphan) and I'm told its a real tear-jerker. Thorn Tharith has made other movies and like his father, became a martial arts expert as well as a teacher.

M|O|N|G|K|O|L said...

Yes, I heard the same thing about that movie too. I hope to watch it some days. Anyways, Nice research, Andy. Keep up your great job. I hope to read more about some other Khmer stars.

Sovanaphum said...

Anybody know who starring in the 1970 Cambodian movie name Tum Teav?

The story teaching in Khmer Liturature class in hight school in the 1970s.

It cannot be found anywhere today. They don't keep them outside the country in case something bad happen like the pol pot traitor?

Mikneah1 said...

Very interesting topic and a new source of information for me as well. I look forward to reading more! :)

Mikneah1 said...

Very interesting and a new source of information that I've always questioned when it came to the singers/ stars of Cambodia of the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge era. I have heard from my parent's that a large percentage of the greatest singers/ stars of Cambodia lossed their lives. It is such a sad outcome that we have also lossed a history in our arts that we so heavily admired in our culture. I hope that we can continue to find more of these mysteries of our beloved Khmer idols through their music and their arts to revive what is apart of Cambodian culture. I find it funny when I listen to Cambodian songs of the 60-70's and how it varies differently from the Modern Cambodian music we have today. It is a blend of Cambodian oldies with a touch of rock that also is similiar to the Oldies in the America's. From the sound of the music, you can sense the taste of freedom Cambodia once had as it uses similiar beats of American Oldies (different from Cambodian traditional instrumental music, but guitars, drums, saxaphones,etc..). I've noticed that there is a side of rock that many Cambodians enjoy in their taste of modern Cambodian music today and it seems as though it is rooted in our genes to dance to these beats with glaring guitars ringing to every move we make.

WiseKwai said...

A very thought provoking post. I'd love to find out more about the golden age of Cambodian cinema. If you could point to some sites that have some of the old images, I'd be grateful.

Andy said...

Try this website for more info about Cambodian film-making:

Regards, Andy

Andy said...

is a webpage that focuses on the Khmer movie idols from the 60s and 70s.

Anonymous said...

Awww, I've been in love with om srey Vichara for years, ever since I watched Pheakdey Sneah in 2001! I wonder if she has any surviving kids or nieces around my age ;) Hehe. Much respect. -PDP-

Sovanaphum said...

Vichara Dany star in the movie Pel dael trov yum. She is a popular star when i was a kid i heard her name alot. I don't remember what she look like because i haven't seen her for so long until i saw her picture and old movie. We were cut off from seeing Khmer films and movie stars since pol pot won the war. Khmer rouge Garrila they are like viet cong. They won the war by the helped of viet cong and china. Sihanouk helped the Khmer rouge Garrila and the viet cong. They are the cause of the Khmer suffering.

Most Khmers farmer don't like Khmer rouge during the civil war. The were escaping the Khmer rouge every day during the war but when the Khmer rouge won the war they were force to work in the fields farm work with no paid. No freedom none, no food hungry every day.

Anonymous said...

Between Dy Saveth and Vichara Dany. Vichara Dany was more sweeter,outgoing and good sense of humors. And unsnobbished compare to Dy Saveth.

Vichara Dany had played many movies for my uncle. One of the most popular movie she perfomed for him was Pkor Lorn Derm Chnam.And many more such as Si Yin guy,Cheung Dai Aov Puk,Psaing Moranak. She was one of my uncle favorite actress.

Kirrirom said...

We have a movie Phasaeng moranak? I have never seen that one.

I have the Khmer movie Pous Keng Kong Starring Jea Yuthorn and Dee Savat. It has a song in there but my movie missing that song.

Phakor Luan duem Chnnam movie has many songs too. Where is that movie now? lost some where. Khmer rouge, Khmer Red don't give value to any Khmer arts.

Most of them cannot read and write Khmer only the leader can.

Khmer rouge an adult can not read or write Khmer.

Watch video of Khmer in 1965 our Country was great before Khmer rouge april 17 1975.

Thyda said...

Vichara Dany is the true definition of Khmer Beauty. Look at her, she's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Andy,

Je souhaite répondre à un anonyme qui parle de son oncle ancien réalisateur des films khmers des années 70, ayant pour actrice fétiche Vichara Dany.

Je crois comprendre que son oncle s'appelle So Man Chhiv. C'est un très grand réalisateur qui travaillait pour Van Chan Production ( le plus grand studio de cinémas khmers de l'époque ).

A ma connaissance, So Man Chhiv produisait au moins 16 films entre 1968 et 75 :

13 films avec Van Chan Pheap Yun

1) Minsetor Minseneak ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany - Kong Sam Ath )

2) Phka Thkol Meas ( Van Vanak - Vichara Dany )

3) Thida Khlok Tep ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany - Kong Sam Ath - Kim Nova )

4) Peanorong Pongnorith ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany - Kong Sam Ath)

5) Chhoeng Day Ev Pok( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany - Kim Nova - Lim Sophan)

6) Si Yin Kuy ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany )

7) Tek Chhèng ( Kong Sam Ath - Vichara Dany )

8) Dav Bak Dorng Meas Brayut Neng Chhoeng Day Ev Pok ( Van Vanak - Vichara Dany )

9) Phkor Lorn Deum Chhnam ( Chea Yuthorn - Som Vansoudany )ce n'est pas Vicheara Dany comme il a dit.

10) Tong Moranak ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany - Kim Nova)

11) Kevlong Kevlay ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany )

12) Thngay lech One Sranos( Chea Yuthorn - Dy Savet )

13) Neang Sedaduong ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany )

les 3 derniers films de So Man Chiv n'étaient pas sortis interrompus par la guerre puis les khmers rouges : Tek Phnek Kolab Battambang, Chum No Pailin et Neak Bradal 13 srok.

2 films avec Bayon pheap Yun :

1) Ream Chborng Yeung ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany - Kong Sam Ath - Kim Nova - Kong Chantha )

11) Srey Na Min Yum ( Kong Sam Oeun - Vichara Dany )

1 film avec Hèmapean Pheap Yun

1) Dav Chhvèng Sdam ( Van Vanak - Vichara Dany )

NB :

Oh Phèng Moranak n'est pas un film de So Man Chiv. Ce film appartenait à Prasat Meas Peap yun de Saravuth.


Anonymous1 said...

Pardon moi Monsieur. Despite je ne parler pas Francaise que tu. Mais je sais enough pour comprend tu dite.

Psaing Moranak was directed by

Tat Somnang & So Manchiv and many more movies that they directed togethers. Pkore lorn Derm chnam was another one.

Anonymous1 said...

Choeung dai ov puk Par: Tat Somnang & So Manchiv

Si Yin kuy, Par: Tat Somnang & So Man Chiv

Pkore Lorn Derm Chnam, Par: Tat Somnang & So Manchiv

and many more.

Anonymous1 said...

On the day of the filming of Psaing moranak I was there to watch them filmed the scene. I remembered Vicharadany on that day with the same hair style as the photo above. So Manchiv was not my uncle, he was my uncle favorite partner in directing movies togethers. Tat Somnang was my uncle. He was also a singer. Some of the songs he sang with Sin Sisamuth was Ahja Bahn cher, kondol laing soorn and many more.

Part of Si yin kuy was filmed in Battambang.

Anonymous1 said...

Theuk pnaik kolab Battambang ,Par: kong Bunchoun

Jumno Pail, par: Kong Bunchoeun

Pkore Lorn Derm chnam: Vicharadany & Kong Somoeurn , par: Tat Somnang & So Manchiv

Anonymous1 said...

Si Yin Kuy- Vicharadany & Chea Yuthon

Anonymous said...

1) A propos de Tat Sam Nang :

Tat Sam Nang est originaire de Battambang et très ami avec Tente Deux.

Il était longtemps proche collaborateur de So Man Chhiv pour avoir contribué activement à la réalisation des films que j'ai décrits plus haut. Je crois que son neveu n'a pas tout à fait tort.

Mais, ce qui est officiel et vrai, Tat Sam Nang a effectivement réalisé pour sa part 5 films :

1 film avec Hèmapean Pheap yun

- Knhom seuch heuy knhom yum ( co-réalisé avec Trente Deux ): Kong Sam Oeun et Vichara.

4 Films avec Van Chan Pheap Yun :

- Kampoul boros muk pi : Kong Sam Oeun Vichara Lim Sophorn Kim Nova, Sam Sovan et Som Bopha

- Chav kambet bontos : Lim Sophorn et Vichara ), la chanson acha bin chheu est dans ce film.

- Neang Tra cheul dos tral : Kong Sam Oeun et Vichara

- Si bay bok chhnang : Tente Deux Vichara, Lim sophorn et Bo Ravy. La chanson Kondul léng suon est dans ce film.

2) A propos du film Psaing Moronak

Je crois qu'il y a un malentendu.Il y a une confusion entre Psaing Moronak et Tong Moronak.

- Oh Psaing Moronak est un film de Saravuth ( Prasat Meas Pheap Yun ) sorti en 1966, il me semble !

- Tong Moronak est un film de So Man Chhiv ( Van Chan pheap yun ) tiré du roman de Mith Sakhon. C'est une histoire de Snay Pol ( Kong Sam Oeun ) ayant perdu un oeil est à la recherche de l'épée ( Dav Pisith ). Ce film est tourné en partie à Phnom Sam POV ( Battambang )et sorti en 1973.

3)A propos de : Chum no pailin et tek phnék kolab Battambang

j'ai entendu dire que ces deux films ont été réalisé par So Man Chhive mais le tournage n'était pas terminé. Je n'ai aucune certitude sur cette question.

Kong Bun Chhorun a seulement écrit des chansons pour ces films. A ma connaissance Kong Bun Chheoun a réalisé un seul film intitulé Sliek Khyom dan dob mék.

4)je tiens à certifier ces deux points :

- Phkor lorn deum chhnam : Chea Yuthorn et Som Van Soudany ( ce film était tourné à Phnom Sam Pov BATTAMBANG )

- Si Yin Kuy : Kong Sam Oeun et Vichara

Anonymous12 said...

Are you able to communicate with me in English? because the knowledge of my French is very limited. Eventhough , I studied it for four years.

The whole time I thought Pkore lorn derm Chnam was Vichara and Kong Somoeun.I also was there when they filmed the song Grawmom Pompuang in Phnom Sompov. Part of Si Yin Kuy I believed it was filmed in my granma house. If you had seen the movie..did you remember the part when there was a lot of kids on bed? that was a bunch of us. We will talk more..and had a chance to stop by please tell me more about my uncle that you know of. I know trendeux was his pal and even the last movie he directed was starred Trendeux and my aunt. The movie was Ahpia pipia jrolom kansla and it was ready to go to the cinema but khmer rouge took over PP.

Anonymous said...

Theuk Pnaik Kolab Battambang & Jumno Pailin were non fictions of by Kong Bunchheoun.

The movie .......Moranak partially fimed in Thravo,Domnak Sdow infront of a pond. So was it Psaing Moranak or Thong Moranak? I was too young to remember it clearly.

Anonymous said...

Kong Bunchoeun: Kut Konthuy Liab kombow,Sliak kyol Dondobb maik, Theuk Pnaik Ov puk.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous had you seen this movie from 1965?

Vichara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vichara said...

About Si Yin Kuy

J'ai vu ce film en salle du Cinéma Battambang.

Si yin kuy ( Kong Sam Oeun ), gros mangeur commence à parler à l'âge de 15 ans, ce jour là ses parents sont morts. Jeté par son oncle qui l'a traité de l'enfant de malheur, Si yin kuy a rencontré sa future femme Kim Houy ( Vichara )dans des conditions troublantes.

Engagé dans l'armé, Si yin kuy a été longtemps harcelé par le chef militaire Chang Si Kuy ( Chhuon Chhay )avant de gravir tous les échélons à la force de ses capacités d'art martial hors du commun.

Par rapport à votre question, je ne me souviens pas d'avoir vu des enfants dans un lit dans ce film.

Par contre, dans un autre film de So Man Chhiv intitulé Tek Chhéng ( Kong Sam Ath et Vichara ) qui est sorti juste après Si yin kuy, j'ai vu cette scène où une dizaine d'enfants de toutes les tailles sont réunis dans un lit. Le père de ces enfants est Peh kok ( un comédien de petite taille un peu plus grand que Loto ).

Méfiez-vous, So Man Chhiv était un cinéaste très productif, il était capable d'enchainer deux films à la fois pour parvenir à sortir un film tous les 3 ou 4 mois.

Vichara said...

About Phkor lorn deum chhnam

Sans vous contrarier, j'insiste que ce film a été interprété par Chea Yuthorn et Som van soudany. C'est le seul film de SO Man Chhiv auquel participe Som van soudany.

Je me souviens qu'il y a eu une explosition lors sa projection en salle au Cinéma de Battambang

Vichara said...

About Tek Phnék Ov Pok

J'étais trop jeune pour m'en souvenir.

Je sais toutefois que l'histoire a été écrit par Kong Bun Chhoeun et il y a eu une célèbre chanson dans ce film " Cheung mék vènh chhngay chhngay pi roub khnhom, brieb ban bran mom chak chhngay chol khnhom kriem krom sav morng..."

Vichara said...

Dear Tat Sam Nang nephew,

With effort, I am able to communicate with you in english. But it will take a long time for me and I have no time to do it at present. So I continue using my french for this time.I am very sorry about that. I hope you understand me.

Concerning your uncle Tat Sam Nang, you find herein what I know of :

J'ai rencontré Tat Sam Nang une fois vers fin 1972 à Phnom Sam Pov, lors du tournage du film Tong Moranak.

J'ai une grande admiration pour lui notamment en raison de sa présence sur le terrain et son ardeur dans le travail à accomplir. Il a été un véritable cerveau de So Man Chhiv au début des années 70 et l'un des grands chorégraphes martiaux du cinéma khmer.

Longtemps dans l'ombre de So Man Chhiv, Tat Sam Nang a commencé à voler de ses propres ailes à partir de 1972. Associé à Trente Deux, il a réalisé son premier chef d'oeuvre " Knhom seuch heuy knhom yum " sous l'égide de Hèmapean pheap yun. Tat Sam Nang s'est taillé une jolie réputation grâce au succès de ce film, très comique au début mais dramatique à la fin.

Deux frères ( Trente Deux et Mondoline ) se sont constamment disputés pour protéger leurs enfants respectifs Kong Sam Oeun et Vichara. Les deux cousin et cousine étaient en liaison amoureuse...Mais la mêlée du vilain Pech Sa Loeun ( l'époux de Vichara ) a changé la donne et fait basculer l'ambiance comique dans le drame. En effet, Kong Sam Oeun qui se doute de la paternité de son enfant, l'a fait tuer dès sa naissance. Pech Sa Loeun étant soupçonné à tort de père du bébé. La chanson " One min khbot borng té " interprétée par Vichara est dédiée à ce film " borng euy mun neng one slab, one som samnom po pi bang tè myang, keu som oy bang choeu one chos tha one min khbot bang té..."

Outre ce film, on doit à votre oncle 4 autres chefs d'oeuvre sous la direction de Van Chan Pheap yun.

En 1973, Tat Sam Nang a réalisé deux films :

- Kampoul Baoros Muk Pi avec Kong Sam Oeun qui se déguise en pauvre malheureux pour tester le coeur de Vichara. Ce film khmer a réuni trois grandes stars féminines : Vichara, Kim Nova et Som Bopha. On y trouve aussi deux célèbres chansons :
Chorng ban tè chét " Kror avey mles.... beu kror yang nis nona ké snè meta anet...",
la 2ème chanson dont j'ignore le titre, est interprétée par 4 couples ( Kong Sam Oeun-Vichara, Lim Soplorn-Kim Nova, Sam Sovan-Som Bopha et Trente Deux-Noya ) " Neh proleng kheng ey neng nor...."

- Chav kambet bontos : c'est grâce à ce film que Lim Sophorn s'est inventé un vrai destin cinématographique. En lui confiant un premier rôle majeur dans Chav kambet bantos, Tat Sam Nang a offert à Lim Sophorn ce que So Man Chhiv lui avait toujours écarté. Ce film a aussi permis à Lum Orng de se faire distinguer dans un second rôle très honorable, le frère de Lim So Phorn. Encore trois belles chansons dans ce film :

* Dos léng knhom tov " Borng euy borng dos léng knhom tov....",
* Keu thpal one na " Denh mok héhé...denh mok na bros snguon, denh mok nem nuon chab one oy ban tov..."
* A cha bain chheu : interprétée par Lim Sophorn qui a attrapé le voleur ( de son objet magique ) incarné par Trente Deux qui dans ce vol, n'a même pas bénéficié du soutien de sa femme Noya ni de son fils Sam Sovan.

En 1974, Tat Sam Nang a produit deux nouveaux films :

- Neang tror cheul dos tral avec Vichara et Kong Sam Oeun dans le rôle de Chav bramanh vinh sung. Dans ce film, Tat Sam Nang a offert un nouveau second rôle à Lum Orng qui jouait l'amoureux éconduit de Vichara.

- Si bay bok chhnang : est le seul film moderne de Tat Sam Nang inspiré de l'imagination de son beau frère Kong Bun Chhoeun . Le film parle des enfants qui cherchent à importuner leurs parents en raison de la radinerie excessive de ces derniers. Par ce film, Tat Sam Nang a lancé sur le devant de la scène une autre star féminine BO Ravy aux cotés de Lim Sophorn, mais surtout a promu Trente Deux au rôle principal ( fiancé de Vichara ). Trois chansons sont dédiées à ce films :
* Kandol léng suon,
* Kankeb mort beng, interprétée par vichara " Neh neak neang cham ey tiet mdech kor min chrieng tov, heu min deng chrieng bot ey phorng..."
* Si bay bok chhnang

Dans le choix des acteurs, Tat Sam Nang alternait Kong Sam Oeun et Lim Sophorn pour jouer aux cotés de son actrice fétiche Vichara. Comme acteurs méchants et vilains, Tat Sam Nang avait une forte préférence pour Huy Sann et Lanh don Ror.

Par contre je n'avais pas eu connaissance de son dernier film que vous avez mentionné ( Apea pipea chralom khan sla ), étant donné qu'il n'était pas encore sorti en salle.

Au de-là de son rôle de metteur en scène, Tat Sam Nang jouait le petit rôle dans quelques films tels Chhoeng day ov puk, Si yin kuy ou encore Riem chborng yeung, mais il n'était pas présent dans les films dont il était réalisateur. Tat Sam Nang était aussi chanteur dans ses films, dès lors que Trente Deux était sollicité à interpréter la chanson.

De par sa présence dans le monde du cinéma, Tat Sam Nang était à l'origine de :

- la naissance de quelques stars : Lim Sophorn et Bo Ravy notamment et à moindre mesure Lum Orng et Sam Sovan.

- l'expansion de Van Chan Pheap Yun qui est devenu à l'aube des années 70 le plus grand studio de production de films khmers.

A noter qu'outre So Man Chhiv et Tat Sam Nang, Van Chan Pheap Yun avait un autre réalisateur qui s'appelait LAY Nguon Héng dont les 5 derniers films sont :

- Tep Soda Chan sorti en 1968 : Kong Sam Oeun et Vichara

- Chan deka sangva pech : Kong Sam Oeun, Vichara, Kong Sam Ath et Kim Nova

- Neang Phtel meas : Kong Sam Oeun et Vichara

- Késor mealea : Kong Sam Ath, Vichara et Som Bopha

- Sènarong Sènary : Kong Sam Oeun, Vichara, Kong Sam Ath et Kim Nova

Les 4 derniers films sont sortis entre 1970 et 1971 et depuis cette date, on n'a plus de nouvelle de Lay Nguon Héng.

Par ces informations, j'espère avoir répondu à vos attentes, s'agissant de la carrière de cinéaste de votre oncle Tat Sam Nang. Par contre j'aimerais savoir dans quelles conditions a t-il été décédé ?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your information and effort to do some communications in English regarding my uncle. Due to my little knowledge of French I had not much understood to what it was all about.

Theuk Pnaik Ov Puk was a Kong Bunchoeun non fiction and the film was directed by Tat Somnang.The movie was filmed in 1965 and was starring with my 2 aunts,Tat Kimleng and Tat Kimlorn. Tat Kimlorn is Mr. Kong Buncheoun wife.After that movie many other productions wanted my aunt,Tat Kimleng to sign contract to film for them,but she refused. She filmed Theuk Pnake Ov puk because she was begged and forced by her brother Tat Somnang.Tat Kimleng was very beautiful and if she had filmed more movies for other productions she could'd been very popular because she was way better looking than Vichara or Dy Saveth by height and physical appearance.

Visit my Myspace and send me more messages and I will be patiently wait for the the message in English.

This is my Myspace

I created this Space with a collection of music by Kong Bunchoeun,he is my uncle in law. Please help me correct if you come across any error.Merci!!

Anonymous said...

Please take your time to do so in English.

Anonymous said...

Chhim Pitou
If I would have a chance to paticipate in the Khmer Rouge trial, I will ask them " Why did you (Khmer rouge leader) kill the all kinds of movie actresses and singers?" A Khieu Samphan, A Noun Chea, A Ieng Sary, and Mi Ieng Thirith are cowards because they have denied what they did for their own people during they run the country.