American Sroksrei: a window to Cambodian American youth
By biconews On 8 Feb, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Catherine Song

Last Wednesday, I attended a screening of “American Sroksrei,” (rice paddy), a 15-minute pseudo-documentary on Cambodian American teenagers in South Philly. This video deals with a teen gang member torn between his “homeboys” and his girlfriend, an aspiring poet. Playing his clean-cut Cham “Mopp” Mann, a high school sophomore, is “Rocc,” the protagonist of the video. He, his character, resides in South in South Philly. Playing his clean-cut girlfriend “Buffy” is Den Thach, a young woman of 16, who stated in the Philadelphia Daily News that in South Philly, “there is pressure everywhere,” and that the wrong turn is the beginning of a negative path.

However, American Sroksrei brings a positive outlook on the characters. Even if they make mistakes, they take them as learning experiences and go on with their lives. A third character, “Azeil,” is a former gang member who turns to breakdancing as a way of expressing himself and exerting his confidence. This character is played by 18-year-old Phally Chroyk, who bears a striking resemblance to NBA star Kobe Bryant. His character acts as a catalyst for conflict between Rocc and Buffy.

Overall, the “documentary” is superb; the actors are animated and believable and the cinematography is first-class. After the screening, I found these young actors, who were all present at the screening except Thach, to be animated and likeable. They exerted great confidence in their work and were willing to answer most of the questions asked by the audience.

I give American Sroksrei 4.5 stars out of 5.

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