A young Cambodian boy, named Sokvannara “Sy” Sar, is spotted performing a traditional dance by the film’s director and American Dance patron Anne Bass. She immediately takes note of his smooth talent and figures he has massive potential as a classical ballet dancer. Sy is given a rare chance to audition at the School of American Ballet in New York and then proceeds on a unique and fast-paced journey through a new world of dance, in a nation that is completely alien to his homeland.
This film would be interesting simply for the fact that it displays many parts of what it means to train as a professional ballet dancer and student, but is all the more engaging because of S’s situation; that being the lone Cambodian to take on such a quest. Sy may come from poor roots, but his is by no means a sob story of an underdog, but that does not make it any less special or rare an opportunity. This film gives us the chance to see more than just his home, family and friends, as well as the many stages he earns a spot performing on, but we are privy to what can happen when chance falls upon the sort of person who has the passion to take hold of it and elevate themselves in something that was a total unknown to himself and his fellow countrymen.
Sy’s progression in his training is eerily fast and he gets nothing but admiration by the most prestigious of teachers. The format of this film has no need for overly dramatic dark moments where we are to doubt Sy’s progress. The only possible drama comes from the instructors explaining just how difficult the training process is, but the audience is allowed to back him the whole way. We are able to see Sy’s skill in action without tension because his natural ability makes him defy all odds ashe reaches levels that should have taken nearly a decade, in about three years.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The footage that was compiled before for Sy’s family, along with much of the footage taken in Cambodia, has a bit of a digital haze, no doubt due to a lesser camera being used. Beyond that, things are acceptable.
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 are both available. Mostly it is the music that works its way into the surrounding speakers, but being a rather musical film that is a very nice attribute. Everything is clear, from the music to the voices, which is all we need in this type of film.
Recent Performance “Mopey”: Part modern dance, part ballet. A very fine performance by this talented man. The stage lighting is such that the video qulaity shows its flaws more readily as the darkness creates fading and movement trails (like vapour trails), but does not dilute our enjoyment of the dance. Sy’s progression is very apparent if you watch this more recent example.
Interview with the Director: Split into multiples parts, Anne Bass explains how this film stemmed from pre-existing footage she had taken of Sy, which was originally sued to show his family back in Cambodia his amazing progress as a dancer. Overall, this interview is conducted well and the answers are satisfying for those who truly enjoyed this film’s story.
Selected Performances from the Film: Full versions of dances for those wanting more. A perfect feature for this sort of release.
Photo Gallery: Stills from the film and making of.
Film Gallery: Other titles available to buy…just advertising.
This is a delightful story that should be an inspiration to many. VERY highly recommended for fans of dance.