The Khmer civilisation reached its peak under the Angkor kings during which time they produced some of the most exceptional and enduring works of art and architecture yet managed by mankind.
The greatness of these kings has also informed the recent past in Cambodia, and this film shows how that unifying concept has helped hold the kingdom together when it may otherwise has fallen apart, or lost its identity.
The film gives a fair history of the Angkorian kings and how this history has loomed over the recent past. Then takes up the story in the 19th century when the French helped unify the land under king Norodom, who reigned for around 40 years.
The lives of his successors are also noticed, until we come to the very central story of king Sihanouk who ascended the throne at the age of 19 in 1941. The French thought he would be easy to control, but by 1955 he had attained full independence for his country.
The turbulent years that followed, including the playboy years in the 60s, the disastrous compromise with the Khmer Rouge, his return from exile in China, and his appointment of his successor in 2004 are all covered in the second half of the film.
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