Movie Night in Canada: VAFF's Grace Chin on The Roots Remain

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      National Canadian Film Day is coming back for a third year.

      This year's event, aimed to raise awareness and appreciation for our own domestic cinema, will be held on April 20.

      To lead up to the day, we'll be running some Movie Night in Canada posts, our series highlighting obscure, forgotten, or overlooked Canadian cinematic gems, to get people thinking about Canadian film.

      For this edition, we asked Vancouver Asian Film Festival director Grace Chin to recommend a little-known Canadian film that she thought deserved more attention.

      Vancouver Asian Film Festival director Grace Chin

      Her choice? Retour aux sources (The Roots Remain), a film she screened at the 2015 Vancouver Asian Film Festival.

      This documentary captures efforts to address the impact of the devastation in Cambodia caused by the Khmer Rouge, or the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, in the 1970s. Their attempts at radical social reform led to torture, executions, the Cambodian genocide, widespread famine, and deaths from illnesses due to the deprivation of medicine.

      Cambodian youth from around the world, including from Canada, are returning to the country to help the post-genocide generations and culture build a better future.

      The Roots Remain

      Here's what Chin had to say about the film:

      It follows Cambodian Canadian, Montreal-based graffiti artist FONKi's "return" to Cambodia to create a giant mural dedicated to relatives killed during the Khmer Rouge genocide—and his discovery that many others from the Cambodian diaspora are doing the same, minus the mural part. It was co-directed by local director Andrew Marchand-Boddy from Victoria, and Jean-Sebastien Francoeur from Montreal. We might do an encore screening this year at Vancity Theatre or at the Cinematheque, as last year's screening was well received.

      Here's the film's trailer that provides a glimpse of what the film is like.

      One of the benefits of Canada's multicultural population is that it increases Canada's connections and relationships to people around the world, helping to maintain a global perspective. Films like this one, in addition to festivals like the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, help to educate viewers about international issues, experiences, and cultures.

      It's something to think about the next time you're looking for films to watch.

      Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks as we count down the days to National Canadian Film Day.