It’s the mood of this film, the setting, costume and cinematography, that creates its romantic essence and not just sentimental longing on the part of the characters. The music is a major element as well, powerful without being grandiose. I’m still pondering over the symbolic meaning of the final sequence shot at the stunning Angkor Wat.
There’s a deep feeling of nostalgia somewhat lost in the English translation of the title. Perhaps the ruins of Angkor Wat, a mere shell of its past glory, is a metaphor for the passage of time.
To me it has strong parallels with Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad in its themes, striking use of music and highly stylized shots. Isn’t it strange that two films, the product of different cultures, can be so similar? Maybe it’s a testament to the universal nature of certain experiences.