Part of the recent trend of films (Golden Slumbers, The Missing Picture, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten) that use Cambodia’s pop-cultural/filmmaking past to comment on the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge and demonstrate the power of storytelling, The Last Reel is a meditation on the preservation of memory and the catharsis of the archival impulse. Anchored by Ma Rynet’s superb performance, which holds the multiple emotional threads of each character together across the film, The Last Reel centers on Sophoun (Ma), a young girl who rebels against the marriage plans of her conservative army father Bora (Hun Sophy), while coping with the failing health of her mother Srey (the powerful Dy Saveth), and hanging out with a local motorcycle gang leader. Ducking into an old theater to avoid a rival gang, she is enthralled by an old film from before the civil war that stars her mother. The theater owner, Sokha (Sok Sothun), an actor from the film, pines for Srey and has lovingly preserved the film, even though its final reel is missing. Sophoun becomes determined to finish the film, but the ghosts of the past are hard to dispel, and the secrets of Srey, Sokha, and Bora are dragged into the present.

Unfortunately the scheduled Q&A with Kulikar Sotho has been cancelled.