The Snake King's Wife

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The Snake Man
Puoh Geng Gong.jpg
Thai promotional poster
Directed by Tea Lim Koun
Produced by Tea Lim Koun
Written by Tea Lim Koun
Starring Dy Saveth
Chea Yuthorn
Loto
Saksi Sbong
Distributed by Dara Rath
Release date
1970s
Country Cambodia
Language Khmer

The Snake Man (Khmer: ពស់កេងកង; Puos Keng Kang; Thai: งูเก็งกอง; rtgsNgu-kengkong) is a 1970 Cambodian drama horror film based on a Cambodian myth about a snake goddess, starring the most well-known Khmer actress of the era, Dy Saveth and Chea Yuthorn, who became popular in Thailand after the film's release.[1] The film was directed by a Chinese Cambodian director, Tea Lim Koun who experienced unprecedented success as a result of the film and is known today as one of the fathers of Khmer Cinema.[2]

The film was an enormous commercial success in Cambodia and had been released at worldwide box offices, with also much success in neighboring Thailand, which brought back an extremely better result of grossing revenue. The film then noticed one of the biggest box-office hits in Southeast Asia at the time, holding today as Khmer Classic films for decades. As reported by Thailand’s Krung Thep Turakij newspaper, The Snake Man is a Khmer film awarded at the 19th Asian Movie Awards in Singapore in 1972 where it received 6 golden awards including Best Director and Best Actress.[3][4]

Plot[edit]

The film begins following the life of Neang Nhi, a Cambodian woman. Nhi is married to her husband Minom. Nhi and Minom have a young daughter. One day, Minom leaves town for work, leaving his daughter and wife at home. He tells their daughter that he will return home soon.

Nhi and her daughter are scavenging for food in their crops, when Nhi breaks her shovel-head in an attempt to dig. There is a snake in the hole that her shovel had burrowed, and this snake claims that he is the Snake King. The Snake King tells Nhi that he will help her family if he sleeps with her. So Nhi does.

Nhi has hidden the affair from her husband and her daughter. However, when Minom returns, he discovers that she is pregnant and enraged by this, he manages to discover the secret and starts a plan in order to kill the Snake King. Months later, Minom is able to chop the snake and cook the snake meat as food for Nhi after the many failed attempts. After Nhi found out about the death of the Snake King, she was murdered by her cruel husband while she was bathing. As her womb was opening, there were several little snakes being born; however,most of them were killed by Minom. Only one of the snakes was able to survive. As a child, the only lasting snake, Veasna arrived at a hermit's cottage where the hermit turned him into a human and also named him, Veasna.

Several years later, Veasna, grew up to be a handsome man and he began to fall in love with a rich man's daughter, Soriya. While they were in love, Soriya's stepmother who was jealous of their relationship planned an attempt to split them apart. She too was madly in love with Veasna. However, when Soriya's mother realizes that Veasna is a snake she meets an old witch who made a spell to transfer him back to a snake. The Villagers were so afraid that they abandoned the wedding as the rich man, Soriya's father, dropped dead immediately after his step wife ran away for her life. Despite his features, his wife still loved him, until one day, she gave birth to a female baby called Cantra. Unfortunately, she was born with tiny snakes as her hair for the old witch had put a curse on her family. When she grew up, her father, suddenly, turned to stone and her mother became a psycho after she was kidnapped and forced to eat the blood of raw meat as food. Cantra became an orphan and also became the servant for the ugly witch until one day, she found a plan to break the curse by midnight when the witch was seeking for food with only her head and intestine. Cantra went to the witch's locker room and burned everything including the witch's body. The witch arrived in time and was also burned in the fire. Finally, the curse was broken and her parents became normal human beings as Cantra's hair turned long and beautiful. The family all lived happily ever after in a big house.

Release[edit]

Pous Keng Kang (which translates to 'The Giant Snake' in Cambodian/Khmer) was an almost immeasurable success in Cambodia, therefore resulting in its release to foreign non-affiliated countries including many Asian countries and several parts of Europe. In Thailand, the film reached double the amount of hits that of the Cambodia Box office. This was due partially to the Civil war that the kingdom of Cambodia was enduring.[5]

Remakes and sequel[edit]

After the highly success of the film in Cambodia, the film was then progressed in its story with the title The Snake Man Part 2 which was a co-production by Cambodia and Siamland starring Cambodian heartthrobs Chea Yuthorn (ជា យុទ្ធថន) and Dy Saveth (ឌី សាវ៉េត), together with formerly famous Thai actress Aranya Namwong[6] and released at the following year of the prequel.

In 2001, the first full-length feature film to be produced in Cambodia since the Khmer Rouge era was directed by Fai Sam Ang. In fact, it was not "the first full-length feature film", if you can remember the success of the "Shadows of Darkness" by Yvon Hem (1988). The film starred 17-year-old début Cambodian actress Pich Chanbormey and Thai actor Winai Kraibutr. According the Similar plot, the film was said to be the remake of the 1970s film. In contrast, its different title which translated to The Snake King's Child suggested it was a sequel. The film, then become the sequel of the 1970s film. However, In 2005, A horror Romance film called The Snake King's Grandchild, which seem as the sequel of The Snake King's Child, was released and was also directed by the same director, Fai Sam Ang.

Soundtrack[edit]

Song Singer(s) Notes
Soriya Psong Snae Sinn Sisamouth
Soriya Psong Snae Ros Serey Sothea

References[edit]

External links[edit]