Boreak was six when he lost his right arm in a landmine accident. Family members rushed the young Cambodian to a nearby hospital where so-called “doctors” performed a crude amputation. Burdened with eight other children to feed and unable to cope with the stress of handling a crippled son, Boreak’s parents decided to send him to a home in Siem Reap for young landmine victims.
Despite his tragedy, Boreak is ever optimistic and refreshingly lacking in self-pity. Like most children, he is mischievous and inquisitive. He wants to be a wrestler, a rap artist, a football player. And he rarely acts as if his disability is a hindrance.
This film looks at the world through Boreak’s eyes, and through the eyes of his good friend, Vannak. It is a world at once bleak and brimming with possibilities.
Our camera follows the boys as they explore a rapidly changing Cambodia. And we travel with Boreak from Siem Reap to his hometown near the border with Thailand – an area still studded with millions of landmines; a place where impoverished villagers have little choice but to cultivate the very land that might one day claim their lives.
What is it like to live so close to danger? To know that one wrong step could mean a missing limb, or worse, death? To have to worry whenever your children run out to play?
Through Boreak, we also meet Aki Ra, a former child soldier, trained by the Khmer Rouge army to lay landmines. Now in his 30s, Aki Ra is haunted by his violent past and hopes to make amends by giving children like Boreak a home, and by helping remove the millions of landmines still buried in his country.
A journey into the minefields shows us just how treacherous Aki Ra’s job is. On this trip, he removes two mines. But there are many more waiting to be found. Waiting to wreak havoc.
Ultimately though, the film is a celebration of a child’s tenacity and indomitable will to overcome the odds. Boreak may be a victim, but he doesn’t behave like one. His zest for life is infectious, his ability to laugh, a testament to the courage and strength children can have in the face of adversity.
Festivals: Yamagata IDFF 07, DOCNZ 07, Cinekid Screening Club 07, DOK Leipzig 2007, Jogjakarta Film Festival 07, Cinema du Reel 07, Thessaloniki 07, Singapore IFF 07, 15th Catalonia Environmental International Film Festival 08, Almaty International Film Festival 08, Split International Film Festival Croatia 08, Pyongyang International Film Festival, DPR Korea 08, Toronto Reel Asian Int’l Film Festival, 08
Awards: Prize of the Encyclopedia Society – Almaty International Film Festival 2008, 15th Catalonia Environmental International Film Festival Official Selection 08, Asian Production Award – Sichuan TV Festival 07, Cinema du Reel Official Selection 07, Thessaloniki Official Selection 07, Singapore IFF Official Selection 07, Dok Leipzig International New Talent Competition 2007, Jogjakarta Film Festival Official Selection 2007
Broadcast: Link TV USA, NHK Japan, MHz Networks USA, Press TV