Paulina Image


By Alan Ng | May 14, 2020

Soon, we find out the extent of her father’s gambling addiction and that he owes a substantial amount of money to a loan shark. We now know why Paulina’s parents are separated and why her mother forbids her to return to the casino.

Paulina is part-cautionary tale as she attempts to get her father out of this jam, even if it means a few compromises in her personal life. The other is a glimpse into the hidden subculture of this Cambodian immigrant community that seeks fast fortunes for not the mere thrill associated with gambling, but also as a way to get rich quick.

“…caught between loyalty to family and the hard choices we’re forced to make in the face of addiction.”

I can tell you that these home casinos are quite common in Asian communities…not that I would know from any kind of personal experience…which is I think the point. Paulina is played wonderfully by Amy Pham as she represents the second generation of her immigrant family and the one destined to achieve the American dream as her parents can’t. Her father illegitimately provides for the family, hoping his daughter goes the legit route. For Paulina, she’s caught between loyalty to family and the hard choices we’re forced to make in the face of addiction.

Paulina screened as part of the Khmer Americana Showcase at the 2020 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Virtual Showcase.

Paulina (2012)

Directed and Written: Caylee So

Starring: Amy Pham, Johnathan Nhean , Drea Castro, Magul Ahmath, Amielynn Abellera, Javier Ronceros, Mathew Huon, Loeuren Dip, Tyson Pruong, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Paulina Image

"…a small casino. How small? It’s run out of a typical 3br/2ba home."

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