Once Khai Ly (61) was married with children in Vietnam. Nowadays she is a Buddhist nun. She lives in Stung Meanchey pagoda in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh since 12 years. Because of her Vietnamese origin she faces discrimination by other Cambodian nuns. Sao Sopheak’s THE QUIET MOVEMENT is the first Cambodian documentary, which approaches a sensitive issue by investigating the realities in a Cambodian pagoda today.
The Cambodian Buddhist Sangha was virtually annihilated by the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979). Of some 65,000 monks, nuns and novices in the country in 1969-70, no more than 3,000 are believed by all available accounts to have survived. Since the late 1980s, the number of monks and novices has risen to more than 60,000 again. However, low numbers of teachers and quality of education for monks and, as a consequence, the generally poor discipline of the monks in Cambodia today remain one of the great socio-cultural problems of the country and its recovery as a moral community.
Khai Ly uses advanced meditation skills to overcome her disappointment. She wishes that the Cambodian Ministry of Cult and Religion intervenes and stops the unacceptable behavior of some monks.