Obit: Cambodian film director Yvon Hem dies
Byline: Bopha Koh
Saturday, 11th August, 2012, 7:00
Phnom Penh: Mr. Yvon Hem, the famous film director from the 1960s, passed away at 6:15 on the morning of the 10th of August. The cause of death was heart failure.
His body is being accorded traditional funeral rites at Wat Tuol Tompong in Phnom Penh that will culminate after 3 days with his cremation Monday morning at 8:00, on the 13th of August.
Mr. Yvon Hem Phalla , the eldest son of Mr. Yvon Hem, stated that his father had died at Calmette Hospital after struggling for more than 20 years with a heart condition. He stated that in point of fact his father had been born with a heart condition and was continually being treated by doctors from within, and later without, the country. Mr. Phalla affirmed that, 4 days after his father had been admitted into Calmette Hospital, his condition had deteriorated fatally to the point where he was no longer being able to ingest food. According to the doctors, his father had had a hole in his heart, and as he grew older the arteries in his heart had become constricted, diminishing the flow of blood into his lungs, which made it difficult for him to breath.
The president of “the association of Khmer artists,” Mr. Soh Maich, stated that he and all Khmer artists deeply mourn the death of this heroic artist វីរៈសិល្បករ, and that the loss of this famous director is the loss of a priceless diamond of the arts that causes sorrow and shock to us all. He consecrated Mr. Yvon Hem's memory bidding that paradise be his unfailing lot លោកសូមឧទ្ទិសដល់វិញ្ញាណក្ខន្ឌរបស់លោកអ៊ីវង់ ហែម បានទៅកាន់សុគតិភពកុំបីឃ្លៀងឃ្លាតឡើយ.
It is to be remembered that Mr. Yvon Hem was born to an aristocratic family in the Russei Keo District of Phnom Penh. He was the director of some famous films from the 60s, who made his directorial debut in 1964. The first films he made include Drifting in the Wind រសាត់តាមខ្យល់ and Sacrificial Object សក្ការបូជា. Before the advent of the Pol Pot era he had created his own production company called Bird of Paradise Films បក្សីឋានសួគ៌ភាពយន្ត, where he made more than 10 films, of which some of the more notable include such titles as Aboulkasem អាប៊ុលកាសេម and Sovannahong សុវណ្ណ ហង្ស.
After the overthrow of the Pol Pot regime at the hands of the United Front for National Salvation in 1979, Mr. Yvon Hem reunited with his wife and children. He found work in Phnom Penh as a film lab technician for the Vietnamese military, and later opened a photography studio. But his overweening passion was still for film making, and in 1987, back once more in the film making industry, he produced 2 new films, Night Blooming Flower of Angkor រំដួលអង្គ and Shadow of Darkness ស្រមោលអន្ធកាល. Up to the very end, he had been collaborating on a number of video shorts for various non-government organizations. Mr. Yvon Hem Phalla, the eldest son who was trained by his father to carry on his legacy, currently is at work shooting videos for the Women’s Media Center of Cambodia.