Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll
Through the eyes, words, and songs of its popular music stars of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, ’Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock & Roll’ examines and unravels Cambodia’s tragic past, culminating in the genocidal Khmer Rouge’s dismantling of the society and murder of two million of its citizens. Combining interviews of the surviving Cambodian musicians themselves (a total of 150 hours of interviews were filmed) with never-before-seen archival material and rare songs, this documentary tracks the twists and turns of Cambodian music as it morphs into rock and roll, blossoms, and is nearly destroyed along with the rest of the country.
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Review of "Don't Think I've Forgotten"
"Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll" tracks the evolution of Rock'n'Roll music in Cambodia in the 1950s up to its near extinction in the mid 1970s (under the Khmer Rouge). The documentary makes great use of interviews by and original film of Cambodian rock musicians. This footage is entertaining, high quality and in vibrant color. Similarly, the soundtrack is extensive, including French, American, and Cambodian tracks. The movie does a good job of juxtaposing American/French tunes with the Cambodian songs they influenced. As an American history teacher, I especially enjoyed how the film provides both the positive and negative consequences of America's involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia.
“Don’t Think” is undoubtedly engaging (I honestly had no idea Cambodia had such a rich and diverse rock scene at the middle of the century). That said, I'm not sure how well it fits into an American History curriculum. There are a few sections where American musical influences or military actions in Cambodia are explained, but with the limited time most teachers have, I don't think this documentary would be a priority. Maybe in a World History or Sociology course this could be a better fit.
The only issue I took with “Don’t Think” was the, in my opinion, long and overly-detailed explanation it gave for the Khmer Rouge’s rise to power and the consequences of their tyrannical regime. At one point, I even forgot I was watching a music documentary. A lot of this information, while useful, distracted from the main purpose of the movie - to honor the contributions of the musicians.