Leslie Barnes and Joseph Mai, "The Cinema of Rithy Panh: Everything Has a Soul" (Rutgers UP, 2021)


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In this episode I chatted with Leslie Barnes and Joseph Mai, two scholars of film, about their new anthology The Cinema of Rithy Panh: Everything Has a Soul out with Rutgers University Press, 2021. As a child Rithy Panh survived the Khmer Rouge regime yet lost his immediate family during those awful years. He was fortunate enough to emigrate to France where he studied film and became a prolific director. Rithy Panh is now the most important film maker in Cambodia and in the Khmer diaspora. Committed to mentoring a new generation of Cambodian storytellers, he helped found the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center which trains young Khmer film makers. The essays in The Cinema of Rithy Panh: Everything Has a Soul cover his diverse offerings but focus on the memory of the disaster of the Khmer Rouge years, as well as the 1976-1975 civil war and the Vietnamese occupation of the 1980s. Rithy Panh also engages the history of French colonialism and the explores social difficulties of workers caught in neo-liberal development projects.

Leslie Barnes is a Senior Lecturer in French Studies in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at Australian National University. Dr. Barnes has written Vietnam and the Colonial Condition of French Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). Joseph Mai is an Associate Professor of French at Clemson University. Dr. Mai has published Robert Gay dig e on Guédiguian (Manchester University Press, 2017) and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (University of Illinois Press, 2010).

Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.

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