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Rocking Cambodia: Uncovering the Rise of a Pop Diva

An intimate and moving tale of a village girl's journey to becoming a pop diva in Cambodia.

Keywords: , Cambodia, Music, Pop Diva, Srey Thy, Julien Poulson, Dreams, Transformation, Culture


"Rocking Cambodia: The Rise of a Pop Diva" is a captivating 2015 documentary directed by Marc Eberle. It tells the extraordinary tale of Srey Thy, a poor village girl with a dream of becoming a professional singer, and Julien Poulson, an Australian musician who stumbles upon her performing in a Phnom Penh karaoke bar. This story is deeply relevant in today's world, reminding us of the transformative power of music and the unifying force of shared dreams.


In 2009, Julien Poulson walks into a Phnom Penh karaoke bar. He is captivated by the voice of Srey Thy, a hopeful singer from a poor village. Their meeting sparks a journey from obscurity and poverty towards fame and recognition, though not without its share of hardship and trauma.

More Film Analysis



Eberle's documentary is observational, intimate, and deeply moving. The film displays excellent research and provides a depth of exploration into the lives of its subjects. The presentation style, which includes rare cinematic archive from the personal films of King Sihanouk, further enriches the narrative.

Historical and Factual Context


To understand the film's context, it's important to delve into Cambodia's history, particularly its musical culture and the societal norms that shape the lives of individuals like Srey Thy.

Key themes in the film

  • The power of music as a transformative force
  • The journey from obscurity to recognition
  • The impact of socio-economic circumstances on individual dreams and aspirations

Film Comparisons

Compared to other films on iWonder, "Rocking Cambodia" stands out for its intimate portrayal of the struggle and triumph of an ordinary individual with extraordinary dreams.

Noteworthy Moments

One particularly poignant moment is when Srey Thy steps onto a stage for the first time, realizing her lifelong dream.


The documentary has received positive reviews for its authentic storytelling and insightful exploration of Cambodian culture.


"Rocking Cambodia: The Rise of a Pop Diva" is a testament to the power of dreams and the transformative force of music. It's a must-watch for anyone interested in stories of personal triumph and the exploration of diverse cultures.

More film information:


  • Genre: Documentary



  • Srey Thy: A village girl with a dream of becoming a professional singer.
  • Julien Poulson: An Australian musician who discovers Srey Thy.



  • Phnom Penh: The city where Srey Thy was discovered.
  • Cambodia: The country where the story unfolds.

Key Questions Raised by the Film

  • What impact can music have on individuals and their dreams?
  • How does socio-economic status influence one's journey towards achieving their dreams?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A book: "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho - Both tell inspiring stories of individuals pursuing their dreams against all odds.
  2. A song: "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey - The song's message mirrors the film's theme of holding on to dreams.
  3. An art piece: Van Gogh's "Starry Night" - Both depict the journey through darkness towards light, symbolizing hope and dreams.
  4. A celebrity: Lady Gaga - Known for her rise from obscurity to fame, much like Srey Thy.
  5. A colour: Gold - Representing the remarkable transformation of Srey Thy, akin to the process of gold being refined through fire.
  6. A music style: Pop - The film revolves around the rise of a pop diva, making this the most fitting genre.