Monkey Dance

Genre: Documentary
Ethnicity: Cambodian American
Themes: Cultural Encounter & Misunderstanding, Identity/Representation, Immigrant/Refugee Experience/Diaspora, Individual Profiles & Personal Stories
Date: 2004
Running Time: 65 min.
Director/Producer: Julie Mallozzi
Berkeley Media
DVD/VHS $275 Purchase

This documentary follows three teenagers in Lowell, Massachusetts, whose parents fled to the United States from Cambodia in the 1970s to escape the Khmer Rouge regime.  All three are members of the Angkor Dance Troupe, a troupe founded by the father of one of the teenagers.  The film follows the teens as they strive to pursue their post-high school goals.

Linda, who struggles with the dark memory of her sister’s murder, finds that visiting her native Cambodia for the first time puts her at peace with what her parents expect of her growing up in the United States.  Samnang, a high-achiever who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, must settle for attending a state university and abandon his dreams of attending an Ivy League college because of his family’s inability to pay private school tuition.  Sochenda, an aspiring artist and "typical" American teenager, does not get into the art schools of his choice and is forced to first attend community college. 

Chang, Lia. "Three Cambodian Teens come of age in Monkey Dance."  May 2006.

Gewertz, Ken. "‘Monkey Dance’ illuminates refugees’ lives.’ Harvard University Gazette.  Oct. 2004.

Siegel, Marcia. "Monkey Dance." The Boston Phoenix. Sep. 2004.

Supplementary Materials
Monkey Dance Official Website
Includes purchase information, profiles of and contact information for the documentary subjects, screening information, and an interactive teen section which includes purchase information for a viewer’s guide and classroom activities packet.
Julie Mallozzi Productions
Official website of the director/producer of the film, Julie Mallozzi. Includes a biography, information on her other films, and contact information.
Asian American Filmography ExEAS