Narie Hem (also known as Nary Hem) was a talented Cambodian actress celebrated for her captivating portrayal of Dara in the French film Bird of Paradise (l’Oiseau de Paradis) directed by Marcel Camus. Her life story, spanning from her early years to her relocation to France, is a fascinating journey worth exploring.
Born in February 1937 in Cambodia, Narie Hem was originally named Hem-Reun. She was the daughter of Hem Chiam Reun, a distinguished chief commissioner, and Hem Dak Peay. Narie held the position of the second oldest among her eleven siblings, a testament to the size and closeness of her family.
The Rise to Stardom
Narie’s journey to stardom began when she was selected by the renowned director Marcel Camus to play the role of Dara, a beautiful Khmer dancer, in his masterpiece, Bird of Paradise. This film not only showcased her acting prowess but also marked her entry into the world of international cinema. Her collaboration with Nop Nem in the movie further cemented her reputation as a talented actress.
Notably, with the support and guidance of her father, Narie Hem established her very own production company called Baksey Thaansuo. The name, meaning “bird of paradise” in Khmer, was a fitting tribute to the film that had propelled her to fame.
Personal Life and Relocation
Following the death of her first husband, Armand Gaston Gerbié, with whom she had two children – a son named Armand (born in 1960) and a daughter named Soriya (born in 1961), Narie decided to make a significant life change. She moved to Thonon-les-Bains, France, seeking new opportunities and a fresh start.
After settling in France, she entered a new chapter in her life by remarrying, taking on the name Narie Duteil.
Narie Hem’s life story is a testament to her talent and resilience. From her humble beginnings in Cambodia to her international success as an actress and her journey to France, she remains an iconic figure in both Cambodian and French cinema history. Her portrayal of Dara in Bird of Paradise continues to be celebrated, and her legacy lives on in the hearts of her fans and admirers.