The Tongue of Water

Cannes Docs

The Tongue of Water

Original title: The Tongue of Water

Directed by: Polen LY

Produced by: Lucas SENECAUT (L'OEIL VIF Productions, France), Rithy PANH (ANUPHEAP Productions, Cambodia), Thibaut AMRI, Benjamin COSTES (Avant la Nuit, France)

Country of production: France, Cambodia

Runtime: 90'

Expected release: February, 2024

Production stage: Post-production

Budget: €250.000 (88% in place)

1st feature: Yes

Looking for: Festivals, Sales Agents / Distributors, Buyers, Gap Financing


In Cambodia, Neang, an indigenous mother, tries to rebuild her life after her village is swallowed up by a dam reservoir. Despite pressure from the government and industrialists to leave her ancestral land, she fights to keep her community and family together. Between memories and connection with nature, The Tongue of Water tells the story of her journey of resilience.

Director’s profile:

Polen stopped his medical study to pursue his passion in filmmaking in 2012. He explored his filmmaking skill and taste through self-teaching while making his short films and documentaries that often explore social issues, human stories, and nature’s. His works often reflect his significant personality in story-telling through his way of using natural elements as symbolism. His last short film Further And Further Away was selected in the short film competition at the 2022 Berlinale. At the same time, Polen works on his first feature documentary, called The Tongue Of Water.

Producer’s profile:

After a master’s degree in private law, Lucas Senecaut studied cinema and production in Montpellier, his hometown. Lucas settled then in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to co-direct his first documentary film entitled Khmerica. In parallel, he worked at the Bophana Center with director and producer Mr Rithy Panh. Back in France, Lucas continued his learning as a production manager within the company Les Films de l’Œil Sauvage alongside producer Quentin Laurent. His background in production includes several award-winning films such as Downstream to Kinshasa (Official Selection Cannes Film Festival 2020) or Against the Tide (Jury Price Winner Sundance 2023). In 2021, he worked on his first short fiction film entitled Sound of the Night. In 2022, he co-founded L’Oeil Vif Productions. In 2023 he completed Khmerica and La Maison Brûle (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs 2023) as an associate producer.