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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Look Who's on First
by Betty Jo Tucker

I donít know much about baseball, but I enjoy many films about the game. And Rice Fields of Dreams is one of the most unique and inspiring baseball movies Iíve seen to date. Itís a documentary about Joe Cookís efforts to bring Americaís national pastime to Cambodia. You see, after surviving the Khmer Rouge as a child, Joe ended up in Alabama when he was 12 years old. Then, as an adult living in the USA, Joe decided he wanted Cambodia to have a national baseball team. To accomplish this, he traveled back to his native land and recruited 22 players for the first ever Cambodian National Baseball Team.

Rice Field of Dreams, from Water Buffalo Pictures, follows the ups and downs faced by these players as they train for and participate in the Asian Sea Games competition. But itís much more than that, for like Kevin Costnerís character in Field of Dreams, Joe Cook is a fascinating guy -- and this documentary manages to show the many facets of his personality without glossing over every problem. It also presents an interesting picture of the people of Cambodia as they go about their daily activities. And it helps us understand that sometimes winning is not the most important thing Ė even in baseball.

Writer/director Daron Ker survived a refugee camp in Thailand, migrated to the United States, and earned a BFA degree in Motion Pictures and Television from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. His background clearly gave him a sensitivity to the subject of this documentary. Iím very impressed by Kerís skillful combination of facts, images and emotion here.  As a result, his film captured my interest right away and held it throughout.  In the field of documentaries, Rice Field of Dreams is one of this yearís best. (Capsule review)

For more information about this unusual film, go to the official website at http://ricefieldmovie.com.


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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