A mashup of traditional sounds and Western pop, Cambodia had a fertile music scene from the mid 50's to the mid 70's, supported by a monarchy devoted to the arts. When capitol city Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge in 1975, however, that all changed. Communist dictator Pol Pot brutally stamped out self-expression, and many popular musicians were murdered in the Cambodian genocide.
Director John Pirozzi's crucial documentary, "Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll," introduces us to significant artists like crooner Sinn Sisamouth and rocker Yol Aularong with priceless archival footage and bittersweet interviews revealing a surprisingly rich tapestry of talent.
Pirozzi -- he's slated to participate in a post-screening Skype discussion on May 26 at The Little -- also provides us with the necessary historical context to understand the timeline of events, particularly in relation to the unstoppable encroachment of the Vietnam War. But the film is not so much an elegy as it is a celebration: a testament to human resilience and the vital music that one interviewee deems "the soul of a nation."