A video of young Cambodian rapper Kea Sokun performing social justice-themed, nationalist songs goes viral in 2020. But these songs ultimately lead to his arrest and imprisonment for a year on charges of “incitement to commit a felony” — one of the most common tools of suppression by the Cambodian government. This law has increasingly been wielded against citizens expressing political opinion on social media. While the government portrays Sokun as an opposition-funded musician calling for an uprising, his parents argue that he was just a kid making music in his room.
Not Love Songs follows Sokun’s rise and fall against the backdrop of the country’s authoritarianism under Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party.