Reasons to Travel – Number Four – Watching Strange Movies

Reasons to Travel

Reasons to Travel Number 4  –

Watching strange movies that you would never have watched otherwise

As we boarded the bus, I was overwhelmed with a sense of pessimism. I’d heard horror stories about Southeast Asian buses and had avoided them up to this point. One hour later my attitude had completely changed; I had watched my first Cambodian film and I was hooked.

Despite the obvious language barrier, the physical slapstick comedy style of the movie made following the plot at least a tiny bit achievable, but the finer points of the story and production details were well beyond me. Nonetheless, this is how a Western backpacker thought the movie went…

A young Cambodian male with a bad ponytail from a rural village can’t seem to get the girl he wants. Out of frustration and the need to break out from his restrictive life in the country, he heads to Phnom Penh where he mets a cooler guy with white eyebrows and more life experience.

Whitebrows takes Pony Boy (note: part of the fun of having no idea what’s being said is creating your own character names) under his wing, mentoring him on the highs and lows of life in the city.

What follows is a series of calamitous misunderstandings, heartfelt montages showing him falling in love with a girl and insight into the developing friendship between Pony Boy and Whitebrows.

Two scenes are worth noting due simply to the fact that they made me laugh in a way that I haven’t since Jim Carrey reprised his role as Ace Ventura for the third and final time.

The first involves Pony Boy getting what he thinks is a massage from his love interest but unbeknown to him he is actually getting a massage from a hideously ugly cross dresser. Needless to say, the reaction from Pony Boy is over the top but oozing in slapstick genius.

The second was Pony Boy’s feeble attempt at figuring out just what it is you do with a condom. After putting it on all 10 of his fingers and then toes he tries to put it on his nose and when tells Whitebrows about his difficulties is mocked mercilessly.

Unfortunately I missed the ending due to the VCR machine cruelly denying the conclusion we all sought. Did Pony Boy get the girl? Did he go back to his village and most importantly did he figure out what to do with a condom?!

Now it must be restated that I actually have no idea whether or not my interpretation of the story is any way correct, I could be way off but that’s not the point.

The locals absolutely loved every minute of the movie and if you can drop the cynicism that usually accompanies a Westerner when one sees the poor quality of the production, the overacting as well as the obvious language barrier and put down your book, iTouch and/or computer, you too might love Cambodian cinema and maybe, just maybe learn a little more about the people and the country.
Written by Peter Dowd