Cambodian documentary “The Wanderers” screens at the ATHM, June 20

The Wanderers (2010)
directed by Christine Bouteiller
Sunday, June 20  |  1:30-3PM
American Textile History Museum
491 Dutton Street, Lowell
(Free admission with paid museum entrance)

"The Wanderers" director Christine Bouteiller (left) with two villagers featured in the film. Photo courtesy of Andy Brouwer.

Though not much information is out there on this 58-minute documentary by Christine Bouteiller, we think it’s important to help spread the word about this film which screens at Lowell’s American History Textile Museum as part of their current “More Than a Number” exhibit of intimate transit photos taken at Cambodian refugee camps and holding centers during the Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh. We as Lowell residents are so fortunate to have such a beautiful, rich culture thriving in the city. If you’d like to learn a bit more about our Southeast Asian population, please visit Light of Cambodian Children, a Lowell-based non-profit organization that supports, mentors, and nurtures our Cambodian community.

As mentioned, not much information could be found on The Wanderers, nor about its director. But recent screenings have been held in the U.S. and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia*, which yielded our uncovering the following film synopsis:

After surviving 30 years of war and being refugees for 15 years, 380 000 Cambodians were repatriated in 1992 to their homeland from the Thai borders refugee camps. Some of them were resettled in villages built for them by the United Nations. How can a society rebuild itself after such a traumatic scattering ? Those who never left were suspicious and saw the massive arrival of these exiled families as a threat to their land and equilibrium. The villagers gave to these former refugees a nickname still used today: The wanderers. In a world of 26 millions of displaced people, the Wanderers try in their own way – slowly but surely – to survive and to reintegrate while fighting for their children’s future. This film is a tribute to their resiliency.

We encourage you to visit the American Textile History Museum and view both the “More Than a Number” exhibit and this very important documentary. We guarantee you’ll have a new appreciation for Lowell’s resilient, passionate Cambodian community.  *Special note: We give great credit to blogger and Phnom Penh resident Andy Brouwer for sharing his experiences in Cambodia. Please visit Andy at www.andybrouwer.co.uk.

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