“The 25-year-old Girl” is directed and produced by Puon Phoungbopha, one of the most successful film makers in Cambodia. The story began by an accident of Dalis, the main female character whose real name is Ny Monika. She was crashed by a car while waiting for her fiancée, Chamrong, in front of Wat Phnom. She is 25 years old, as expected after seeing the title. She was hit hard on her head, and lost her memory, so she could only remember everything happening by the time she was seven years old, and therefore she acted as if she had been at that age. For this reason, her fiancée broke up with her. One day, she got lost and was helped by another man who is the male protagonist. He took good care of her, but due to financial problem, he once decided to abandon her. One day, he saw an announcement about her loss for home in a newspaper, and decided to call her parents. On the day of returning her to her parents, she was hit by a car again, which brought her to normal mental condition. Recovering from her coma, she didn’t recognize him until the last part of the story.
When going to the cinema, I wanted to watch it at 2 o’clock, but when being there, I was told that all the seats for watching the movie at 2 o’clock, and even at 4o’clock had booked. I was surprised by this because movie industry in Cambodia is going downwards, and many cinemas have already been closed. What even surprised me is that I am told, up to now, people have been still crowded to watch this movie since January 22, the date it was first available in Cineplex!
When I was in a queue for buying the ticket, I looked up at the big poster of the movie, and I saw “The best movie in 2012” written on it. Then, I thought it may be true for some reasons based on the current situation I was now at the cinema. When the movie actually started, everyone was silent. However, after around 10 minutes, the silence was broke, and the hall was filled with noise of audiences’ laughter for almost 2 hours.
Kondoub, which is the new name of Dalis after getting the accident, acted like a seven-year-old girl in a very comedic way. She is a good actor. She behaved and spoke as if she had been really seven years old. I could not see that she was acting, but behaving, unlike some characters in the previous Khmer movies I have ever seen who were seen just acting! The rest of the actors and actresses are also great. They all are able to put themselves in the movie, and express themselves as though it had been their real story.
Not only is “25-yeal-old Girl” comedic, but it is also touching. When it comes to the part that Kondoub pretended not to recognize the male protagonist, and therefore made him cry, I and maybe many other audiences, if not all, almost cried like he did. This proves that the movie is so great that can touch viewers’ emotion like many other foreign movies.
Nevertheless, there is one subtle mistake that the film maker made. She may not have noticed it, and so have some audiences. The mistake is the fact that Kondoub keeps asking for hotdog, pizza, hamburger, going to KFC, and watching Ben Ten, one of the famous animations nowadays. What is wrong with asking for those things? The thing is Kondoub is 25 years old by 2012, and she could only remember something happening to her when she was at the age of seven, which was in 1994. Back to that time, there was no hotdogs, pizza, hamburger, nor Ben Ten. How come she knows and keeps whining for them? Both fast food companies like KFC, and Ben Ten anime have been in Cambodia only in the last couple of years, which is illogical for her to know those things!
Even though there are some problems related to such logic, the movie is still the best among contemporary Cambodian movies I have ever watched so far. The movie paves the way for Cambodian film industry towards positive progression. “25-year-old Girl” may not have many educational messages, but if you are seeking entertainment, I believe this movie is one of the best choices of yours. Those who used to criticize Cambodian movies should particularly come to watch it, and I bet they will change their mind, as I do.Article by: Veng Rachana
Veng Rachana is a freelance journalist and a year 4 student in Media Management at Department of Media and Communication (DMC) of Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). He is a also a graduate in English literature from Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL).