80 words which are so many stories which tell Cambodia and which, in addition to the roots of words and their resonance in the hearts of the women and men who use them, evoke the special link that the author maintains with Cambodia, its inhabitants and their language. Jean-Baptiste Phou's family is of Chinese origin from the Teochew ethnic group, and emigrated to Cambodia. The mother's Chinese ties remain strong and Jean-Baptiste, who chose to practicing Khmer dance and settling in Cambodia, strives to deepen the traditions of the country to which he has decided to belong and at the same time tells us of the difficulties he meeting to understand the lifestyle and reactions of people and to acclimatize and insert. The words are often chosen in reference to his personal history.
Jean-Baptiste Phou, a French-Cambodian born in Paris in 1981, lives in Phnom Penh. A multidisciplinary artist, he has worked as an actor in Cambodia, the United States and France. He wrote and directed the play Cambodge, me voici ! (l'Asiathèque. 2017, bilingual), directed the film la Langue de ma mère (Prix du public du film documentaire au Festival international des cinémas d'Asie de Vesoul, 2022) and is the author of Coming Out of My Skin (Seagull Books, 2023). His work explores issues of identity, exile and the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide.
Photo : © Sansitny Ruth