The Bamboo Cutter

Produced by Rithy Panh, 2013, 7mn, Khmer version with English subtitles

Thai and Ny are part of those family. The couple lives in the northwest province of Banteay Meanchey, where they make their living by cutting and selling bamboo gathered from the worst land-mine zone in the country. Before going to work, Ny says a prayer to the spirits asking for protection from accidents for her family. At the end of a muddy path, the sounds of machetes rings out as men shout and tear away long strips of bamboo. They don’t even glance at the red signs warning of the danger of mines. They already know. The options open to these brave men and women are dismal, and so, for scarcely $1 a day, they continue to cut bamboo, knowing that death perhaps awaits them with their next step.