Belonging

Personal journey of one Cambodian woman, orphaned as a child and flown to the U.K., would be more affecting if it were more tightly focused and its main subject weren't so shallow. Still, "Belonging" could find some homes if cut to a tube hour or less.

Personal journey of one Cambodian woman, orphaned as a child and flown to the U.K., would be more affecting if it were more tightly focused and its main subject weren’t so shallow. Still, “Belonging” could find some homes if cut to a tube hour or less.

For years, Li-Da Kruger lived happily in the English countryside until she was bugged enough by her murky origins to travel to Cambodia, in search of family that might have survived. Chasing rumors and the occasional good lead (Kruger places a TV ad in Phnom Pen), she talks to strangers and people who may know something about her story. Helmer Tamara Gordon gives her too much rope, though, and Kruger’s observations, often made through a haze of forced humor and cigarette smoke, are banal to the point of laughability. After listening to a group of women explain what happened to her mother in a bombing raid, she intones thoughtfully, in voiceover, “Clearly, these people were not my parents.” On the up side, Kruger does hook up with her handsome translator, and he seems genuinely thrilled to head to Blighty with her at pic’s end.

Belonging

Cambodia/U.K.

Production: A Cambodian Film Co. (Phnom Pen) production, in coproduction with FulcrumTV (London). (International sales: Electric Sky, Brighton, U.K.) Produced by Tanara Gordon, Paul Oremland, Li-Da Kruger. Executive producers, Christopher Hird, Tracey Gardiner. Directed, written, lensed (color-DigiBeta) by Tamara Gordon.

Crew: Camera (color, DigiBeta), Gordon; editor, Emma Black; music, Ian Hill. Reviewed at Seattle Film Festival, June 15, 2003. Running time: 87 MIN.

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