Phoenix by Elleni Sclavenitis

Phoenix

2009, video, 34 minutes

Phoenix is a documentary reflecting on the relationship of individual experience to historical events. This piece is constructed around two personal accounts of the Vietnam War era: in the first, an American veteran of the war reluctantly divulges a long-held secret; in the second, a Vietnamese immigrant to France emotionally recalls her childhood home in Phnom Penh. Throughout both stories threads the history of Southeast Asia, from colonization to war and genocide. As these personal and historical narratives unfold, the film explores the nature of memory, how it can be obscured and uncovered, forgotten and remembered, both individually and collectively. The aftermath of history reverberates throughout Phoenix, suggesting that the past is always present, in every life.

Above: video still