Le papier ne peut pas envelopper la braise (Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers). 2006. Belgium/Cambodia/Canada/Finland/France/Switzerland/USA. Directed by Rithy Panh. In Khmer; English subtitles. 90 min.
Rithy Panh’s painful, tender portrait of Cambodian prostitutes in Phnom Penh’s notorious White Building is of a piece with his entire body of work, bearing witness to vulnerable people living in the shadows. Among them are village girls who fled abusive lives back home only to face the cruel indifference of their madams, pimps, and clients; a sex worker, “washed up” at 34, who has seen four of her six children die and a fifth taken from her; and another young woman dying from AIDS while her sister, wracked with guilt and grief, watches on. Courtesy CDP