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In the kingdom of Cambodia the pace of life has always been determined by the Tonle Sap, which is both a river and a huge lake. Its waters abound with fish and its flooding supports the rice crop, so essential to the peasants. Cambodians say that the Tonle Sap contains a respected yet feared divinity: the sacred Naga, a giant seven- headed snake which they must honor on important holidays. One such occasion is the Water Celebration, when thousands of farmers come with their families to enjoy the boat races as well as to barter their rice for the fish which will feed their families for months to come.
After the races, the "genies of protection" must be satisfied, granting the participants and their families safe passage back to their villages and a productive year. The genies are supernatural beings of animist origin which have haunted Cambodians for millennia, dating back to times before Buddhism.
This colorful film also explores other areas bordering the Tonle Sap, one of which is the world-renowned Angkor Wat, where the Khmer civilization thrived eight centuries ago. The documentary provides a remarkable picture of a country that endured political upheaval and genocide, yet renewed itself by reconnecting with its ancient beliefs and traditions.
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