“Nourished by rich eyewitness accounts and based on solid archival work. A historical and geopolitical lesson more than the portrait of an outmoded monarch, at once odious and fascinating.”—Telerama

Norodom Sihanouk is the last living country leader of this generation who has seen the colonialism collapse after the second world war…. an exceptional longevity… life in spite of everyone and everything…. this documentary tells the terrible and from now on completed of Norodom Sihanouk’s nine lives: the prince, the king, the president, the exile, the prisoner, the committed man, the artist, the father-king, which reveals the history of his country, Cambodia.

For more than sixty years, Cambodia has been personified by Norodom Sihanouk. Throughout his life, he has played roles as King, Prime Minister, Prince, Head of State for Life, Exile, and Prisoner. THE NINE LIVES OF NORODOM SIHANOUK chronicle his remarkable life story, which is inextricable from the modern history of Cambodia.

Appointed King in 1941, when the nation was still part of French Indochina, Sihanouk helped win the country’s independence in 1953, and played capitalist and communist superpowers off one another during Cambodia’s golden age of neutrality.

During the Sixties, however, Sihanouk increasingly became victim of international pressures. The Vietnam War spilled over Cambodia’s borders, leading to a civil war, a coup d’état, and Sihanouk’s misbegotten alliance with Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. Following years of exile, Sihanouk returned to Cambodia in 1991, regaining his title as King.

Using archival footage and contemporary interviews with Sihanouk’s former colleagues and political opponents, eyewitnesses, journalists and historians, including Jean Lacouture, David Chandler, Patrice De Beer, Jacques Bekaert, and John Gunther Dean, former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, THE NINE LIVES OF NORODOM SIHANOUK tells the story of this controversial political leader whose country became the “killing fields” for one of the greatest human tragedies of the 20th century.

Gilles Cayatte

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1962, Gilles Cayatte was first and foremost a film-lover, but soon caught up with reality. He practiced all the television professions, in order or disorder, chief editor (long), cameraman (a little), journalist (very little), producer, and finally director. His work is eclectic, as are his tastes. He passes from aeronautics to sport, from sociology to politics to the denunciation of injustices, wars and repressions. Most of his films have been hailed by the press, and many awards have marked his career. After making about fifty documentaries around the world, he is also interested in fiction today. He is elected to the board of directors of the Scam (French Author guild).

(2016) ERDOGAN the making of a sultan, (2015) Armenian spring – LAGARDERE, Mortelle épopée (2014) Immigration & délinquance / La fabrique du préjugé (2012) Life and death of Robert Boulin (2011) Iran, the bomb at all cost (2008) The 9 lives of Norodom Sihanouk (2007) COLUMBIA Tragedy (Emmy Award) (2006) GOOGLE, The thinking machine (2003) Baghdad is burning.


until January first, 2012
France 5 (France) Planète (France) RTS (Switzerland) ERT (Greece)  RTE Slovenija (Slovenia) SVT (Sweden) Canal + Cyfrowy (Poland) Irlande, Spain, Mexico and Middle East.

International Sales

Arte France distribution

Coproduction / presales

TSR (Switzerland)
Planète (France)

With the support