The Bamboo Bridge

Riverside Archives

This event has occurred in the past

The Bamboo Bridge

Venue Raffertys Theatre
Dates 26 October 2019
Category Cinema Screening

Directed by Juan Francisco Salazar

Featuring post-screening Q&A with director Juan Francisco Salazar.

Every dry season, a 1.5km bamboo bridge is built across the Mekong River in Cambodia and then dismantled after the monsoonal tides. In 2017, the bamboo bridge was built for the last time, when a massive new government-funded concrete bridge was inaugurated. Juan Salazar’s ( Nightfall on Gaia , Antenna 2015) poetic, beautifully-shot film engages with three generations of bridge builders who share stories of this unique sustainable infrastructure and the diverse community economies it sustained. Focusing on the last master builder, Mr Oun, the film explores the intricacies of traditional forms of sustainable living.

The Bamboo Bridge is a film that brings together observational and poetic modes of representation to tell a story of social transformation during times of rapid and unstoppable environmental change. The film portrays two worlds (rural Koh Pean Island and Kampong Cham the third largest city in Cambodia) both of which are changing rapidly with the times. These worlds were once connected by a seasonal bamboo bridge that was a cultural heritage of pride for local residents, now these two worlds are connected by a massive concrete bridge oblivious to the rhythms of nature. This bamboo bridge is telling an urgent and ancient story. Are we listening?

Proudly screening as part of the Antenna Documentary Film Festival

Recommended for ages 15+

Khmer with English subtitles


Juan Francisco Salazar (born 1971) is a Chilean-Australian anthropologist and documentary filmmaker based in Sydney since 1998. He is a Professor at Western Sydney University where he teaches documentary film and environmental cultural studies. His work on Indigenous cinema in Latin America was pioneering for focusing on the poetics of media practice and bringing together Latin American scholarship on film and communication studies with media anthropology. This included his first film de la Tierra a la Pantalla (From Land to Screen) a collaboration with Mapuche Indigenous activists in Chile.

His recent work focuses on Antarctica where he has developed pioneering ethnographic work since 2011. In 2015 he completed the feature length speculative documentary Nightfall on Gaia shot entirely in Antarctica and which had its international premiere at the 14th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film (Bristol, June 2015). The film also screened at international festivals including CPH:DOX (2015); Antenna Film Festival (2015); MIDBO-Colombia (2015); and Barcelona Planet (2016, awarded best film). The Bamboo Bridge is his third film as director. He is currently developing work on futures and human communities in polar and outer-Earth environments.

Director Juan Francisco Salazar
Producer Claire Fletcher & Alejandra Canales
Production Company Matadora Films
Screenwriter Juan Francisco Salazar & Katherine Gibson
Editor Rowena Crowe
Director of photography Robert Nugent
Music composer Christian Schmidt
Sound Adrian Bilinsky
Executive Producer Katherine Gibson
Executive Producer Pat Fiske

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1 hour 5 minutes (no interval)

Ticket Prices

Riverside Members
Concession $16
30 Club $16
Concession $18.50
Full Time Student $18.50

Transaction fees apply

Screen $1.65