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Shake Girl (2008)

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shake girl cover

Raised in the shadow of genocide, a young woman must make her way in the markets of Phnom Penh. She has a cart full of fresh fruit to make drinks for the tourists. They call her Shake Girl. Though the Khmer Rouge broke her family apart and left her parents poor and infirm. Shake Girl has a dream – to become a danger and singer in karaoke videos. She has beauty and talent. She is only fourteen. Her idol is Piseth Pilika, a classically trained dancer and actress whose charm has captivated all of Cambodia. Shake Girl wishes nothing more than to follow in Pilika’s footsteps and unfortunately, she will. First she must make it out of the streets of Phnom Penh, find a way to support her family and navigate the treacherous world of Cambodian karaoke clubs, which are filled with corrupt officials, former Khmer Rouge officers and men with unlimited power. Two men will present themselves to Shake Girl, each claiming to have her best interests at heart, though they have vastly different ways of showing it. And only one will be there for her after she loses everything.

In a nation where ancient traditions and institutions have been shattered by war, where men scramble to possess power, money, and women of beauty, the benevolent faces of ancient Apsara statues direct their gazes toward Shake Girl. In their weathered expressions of patience and wisdom, they remind her that peace and beauty can be found only on the inside.


Cristopher Bautista

Jennifer Bernal

K. Chang

K. Hanson

Claudia J.

Jessica Johnson

Nadeen K.

Justine Lai

Dana N.

Shelly Ni

Lauren O.

Eric Pape

Robert Rome

Sara Sisun

Austin Zumbro

Instructors: Adam Johnson and Tom Kealey