Expired March 26, 2021 4:59 AM
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Three men. Three stories. Three perspectives. In an age when we can’t get enough storytelling, COALESCE is a must-see. These fragmented tales of young men navigating the ever-changing Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh come together as the film progresses, their stories giving the viewer a window to the hopes, ambitions, and failures experienced by young adults who share a dream of a better life while finding their voice.

Songsa comes to the city to sell clothes for his father, including jeans for a mere $1.25 per pair. Meanwhile, Thy covets a fancy motorcycle in hopes of joining a biker gang while working as a host in a gay bar, learning good tips are to be found among older men drinking alone. Father-to-be-taxi driver Phaerum has aspirations to become a car salesman so that he can be debt-free.

Whether ambitious are small or large, the smell of money is ever-present in the air as cranes populate the skyline of the Cambodian capital which has become a 24-7 city aglow with neon and LED signs and casinos filled with citizens gambling, a popular national pastime. This is contrasted by an underbelly of back-alley abortions and lonely drunks singing their broken hearts out in karaoke bars. While we encounter a city that never slows down, like a poem, there are pauses in the film’s pacing as it offers sumptuous snapshots of a vibrant city and the film’s three protagonists.   

Director Jessé Miceli

Emerging French director Jessé Miceli first became fascinated by the Cambodian culture in the 2010s and later produced the 2019 feature KHMER. COALESCE is his debut feature, which had its world premiere as an ACID selection at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival and later at the Busan International Film Festival as part of the Window on Asian Cinema showcase.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    83 minutes
  • Country
    France, Cambodia
  • Premiere
    U.S. Premiere
  • Note
    Drama, Khmer with English subtitles
  • Director
    Jessé Miceli
  • Screenwriter
    Jessé Miceli
  • Cast
    Eang Phearum, Sek Songsa, Rom Rithy