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Kong Som Eurn
Vichara Darny
 
Somvan Sodarny
Chea Yutorn
 
Dee Savait
 
Van Vanak
Trente Deux

 

There were many Khmer movie stars from the past, many I myself don't even know much about. The following are some of the very famous ones.

Kong Som Eurn______________________________________________

At the time when Sin Sisamouth was king of music, Kong Som Eurn ruled the movie sector. When one talks about Khmer movies, one would quickly think of the name Kong Som Eurn. It is so hard to avoid this name because of the many great movies with him staring in it. He was truely the icon of Khmer movie stars. According to public opinion, he was unquestionably the most gifted and handsomest Khmer actor back during his days. He made many great movies; some of his great ones are Orn Ery Srey Orn, Muy Mern Arlai (Missing You 10,000 Times), and Pail Dael Trov Yom (The Time to Cry).

Tet Vichara Darny____________________________________________
Question: Is it possible for a kingdom to have a king without a queen? Answer: Based on the recorded history, "No". Ms Vichara Darny was unquestionably the queen. Even though she was not known for her look, but Vichara Darny possessed the acting talent that placed her on the top among other female stars. In the movies, she could laugh or cry as the story line demanded her to and in a convincing fashion. She could play vilians or non-vilian roles. In fact, it did not matter what character she chose to play, her acting was just going to be the same, i.e. excellent. Her talents was so great that none of today's actresses can be compared with. Again, Muy Mern Arlai was one of her memorable movies. She played as a taxi driver, dressing up as a man. As it turned out, one of her customers happened to be a rich handsome man. Toward the end of this movie, her identity was revealed by this very customer, played by Kong Som Eurn. Other movies that she starred in were Tepsoda Chan, Thavory Meas Borng, and Sovan Panja.
Somvan Sodarny______________________________________________
One quite well-known female actress, Ms. Somvan Sodarny had all the charm and talents needed to be a great star. Usually, most of the movies that she made were dramas. In fact, her best movies were those that involved lots of crying. Thavory Meas Bong for example, she played as the big sister of Ms. Vichara Darny. In this movie, they fell in love with the same man, Thavory, however got married with him. Now, the drama part began as Thavory fell into the dirty plot set up by her own little sister to drive her away from her husband. However, when it came to non-drama, like the movie called, "Chnam Orn 16" (I am 16 years old), where Ms. Somvan Sodarny played a naive and confused teenager trying to grow up, the character did not seem to fit her at all. This movie was somewhat confusing to follow along. The only part that I like about this movie is the soundtrack. It is of course, Chnam Orn 16 sang by Sin Sisamouth. Other movies that she played in are Thavory Meas Borng and Enaw Bosba.
Chea Yutorn_________________________________________________
Let me tell you the story that I have heard. In the 1960s, Cambodia was in need of educated people. Norodom Sihanouk, the king, decided to select a group of people to go study abroad and bring back education into Cambodia. A group of people was selected. Each person in the group study different field. Among the people in the group there was a man, and he was to study ceramic, how to make tiles, plates, bricks, and so on. Off they went to China. Five or six years later, the group returned. Everyone in the group did what they supposed to do, except the man that supposed to study ceramic. He came back not with the technique on how to make bricks, but how to break bricks, that is martial arts. By now you would have guessed who he was. Chea Yutorn quickly became a popular action star of Khmer movie. He starred in such movie as Krorper Charavan. This was the movie that made movie-goers think twice before taking a swim in the lake or river because of the fear of crocodiles. This movie tells a magical tale of why the crocodiles become so hostile and deadly nowadays. Chea Yutorn starred in such movies as Paov Chuk Sor and Poss Kaing Korng.
Dee Savait_ _________________________________________________
Almost equally popular as Vichara Darny was Dee Savait. She was also one talented Khmer movie star. On top of that, she was the luckiest one that was able to escape death from the Khmer Rouge regime. It was hard to imagine a person as well-known as her could escape from that era alive. I thank god for her. Dee Savait had also made her mark in Khmer movie industry. She played in many great movies such as Poss Kaing Korng, Velveng Na Borng, and Bopha Angkor (This is her most recent movie and the popular one also because it was a joint production with Thai movie company and stars.) Currently, Dee Savait is living in France. She appeared a couple of times in recent Khmer concerts.
Nop Nem and Virak Dara______________________________________

Known to be husband and wife off screen; they both played in Orn Euy Srei Orn. Nop Nem played as "Ar Suos", the vilian, and Virak Dara played "Srey Orn", the main female character. As you can tell from her look, Virak Dara was not all Cambodian. She had the European look and in fact she was half French. She also has a French name which was called, Nathalie.

Virak Dara can also be found starring in another movie called, Sapraset. This is a movie based on a famous novel by the same name. In this movie, she played as a princess who was born with the mind set of not talking to men, even her own father. As it turned out, whoever could make her talk would be entitled by the king to be her husband. Many men in the kingdom tried but failed to make her talk. This was when Kong Som Eurn came to the rescue.

Trente Deux _________________________________________________
The famous comedians known for his skinny look and his unique country-side accent in all the films that he played in. Trente Deux starred in many films where laughter scenes were needed. He mostly starred as a supporting actor. One movie that he played as a leading role was called, Kondap Dai Daek 32 (Fist off Fury 32). I have not seen this movie but I guess this was an adaptation of Bruce Lee 's Fist of Fury. By the way did you know that "Trente Deux" means 32 in French? Why was he called that, I don't know. Trente Deux also died during the Khmer Rouge Era, fortunately he left a son behind who looks almost exactly like his father. His name is Vang Deux; it means 22 in French. Like his father, Vang Deux chose comedy to be his career. However, instead of having country-side accent like his father he choose to have Vietnamese accent instead when talking.
Ly Rattanak _________________________________________________
He is the famous child in the movie Orn Euy Srey Orn. It's not clear of how many films he had made, but he sure does have talents for his age. If there wasn't war in Cambodia, he would have become a great movie star. I was always wonder if he escaped the "Killing Field". But one day, a fan of Noko Khmer dropped me a note saying that Ly Rattanak is still alive and is currently owning a tattoo shop in the United States. The person who told me this claimed to be related to him. Well, I hope this is true.
Kem Nova___________________________________________________
 
Kem Nova was considered as the most beautiful female star in Cambodia. She did not make that many movies. One movie that she played in was Neang Pee-endop (The Twelve Sisters). She also played in the movies, Pail Dael Trov Yum (The Time to Cry), and Dara Vichai Malai Soriya. In both of these movies, she was the supporting character. (Note: Chand and Ratha, visiters to this homepage provided me with Kem Nova's info.) Anybody know anything more about her, please let me know.
Van Vanak__________________________________________________
Van Vanak was also a well-known star. He was a rather good looking guy with mascular body. It can be said that he was the most handsome Cambodian star. As a new comer into the movie industry, he did not get to play in many movies. Most of the movies that he made were action movies. He was built to play in those type of movies. Without the war, he could be the biggest action star in Cambodia. One of the movies that Van Vanak starred in is, Sovan Panja. In this adventure movie, he was out to revenge the death of his father, the former king. Along the way, he recieved assistance from a woman named Sovan Panja, played by Vichara Darny. Through her, he was able to revenge the death of his father.
Other Stars__________________________________________________
  • Hu Keng:
Now the owner of the Cambodiana Hotels, the most famous hotel in Cambodia.
  • Sak Si Sborng:
Always played the female vilian.
  • Mong Talin:
He was also a comedian but sometimes played as a father.
  • Mae Mern:
Often played as a mother. She was just passed away in the late 90s.
  • Loto:
Loto was another star that was able to escape alive from the Khmer Rouge. Back then he played comedian roles because of miniature stature. He is the shortest star and could be the shortest Cambodian. He passed away in the late 90s of sickness and old age.
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