By Kavich NEANG


Social issues - Completed 2019

The White Building, an iconic structure home to 493 families in Phnom Penh, faces demolition. In the building’s final days, Kavich Neang follows three families, including his own, as they pack belongings, share memories and anxieties, and eventually move out before the building’s total destruction.

& Awards

Rotterdam IFF 2019
Bright Future
Seminci - Valladolid IFF 2019
Time of History
Cinéma du Réel 2019
International Competition
Rotterdam IFFR 2019
Bright Future / NETPAC Award
Visions du Réel 2019
Art of the Real 2019
Official Selection
Jeonju Int'l FF 2019
International Competition / Special Jury Prize
Los Angeles Asian Pacific FF 2019
International Documentary Competition / Special Jury Award
    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • Social issues, Art - Culture, Documentary
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • KHMER
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 78 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Kavich NEANG
    • Producer(s)
    • Davy CHOU (ANTI-ARCHIVE), Daniel MATTES (Anti-Archive)
    • Synopsis
    • Filmmaker Kavich Neang learns that the 493 families of the White Building, an architectural landmark in Phnom Penh where he has lived since his birth, have accepted a condo developer’s offer to buy their homes. They now have just a few weeks to leave before the building’s demolition. Kavich Neang decides to document the White Building’s last days.

      The film follows three families or individuals before they vacate their homes.

      Dy Sophanara, 68 and retired, has lived with her son in the White Building since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. She first refused the company’s compensation offer, for fear of not finding a new home, but she finally accepted due to pressure from the community. She has developed strong attachment to the place, and tells stories she has witnessed there: love stories, family fights, tragic events and more.

      Kavich Neang’s father, a trained sculptor, moved in with his wife when the government gathered surviving artists to live there after 1979. Their four children, born and raised there have continued to live together there until now. Kavich Neang’s parents express satisfaction with the offered price for their three-room house, as it provides a chance to start something new and buy a bigger house in the periphery of Phnom Penh. But when they vacate the building, they cannot contain their emotions and burst into tears.

      Suos Sandap, 60, moved into the building in 1981. She sold her house in the 1990s, but after her husband died, she came back to rent it alone. Although she will not receive money for the house, she feels no regret for having sold it: it’s her destiny, she claims. Her dream was to become a singer, but she stopped pursuing it after a love pain. She sings a pop song alone in her home for the last time, before packing her belongings all night until morning, when her landlord forces her to leave hurriedly.

      The building is being demolished. Workers sift through the rubble. The light shines through places where the walls of homes once stood. After 54 years, the building returns to brick, metal, and concrete once more.