"First They Killed My Father"
First They Killed My Father is a 2017 film directed by Angelina Jolie and written by Jolie and Loung Ung. The story is based on Ung's memoir of the same name. The film is set in 1975 during the rise of the Khmer Rouge. The plot follows Ung as a 7 year old whose family is pushed out of the city by the Khmer Rouge and forced to submit to the regime.The film was released on Netflix September 15th and has been widely celebrated in Cambodia. Last Friday, our staff all sat down to watch the film together, with time to reflect and debrief afterwards. It was an extremely moving film for our staff, especially as many of their parents and other family members lived through this period in Cambodian history.Many also watched the film with their families, which led to important discussions and sharing of stories. One staff member said it was the first time they had ever talked about the Khmer Rouge with their parents and were told life during that period was 100 times worse than the movie depicted.In contrast with the film's tragic events, there are landscape scenes and aerial footage of temples, mountains and rice paddies, which celebrate the beauty of Cambodia's natural landscape and culture. "First They Killed My Father" is in Khmer with English subtitles, but very easy to follow because the dialogue is fairly minimal and the viewer relies largely on visuals and imagery.
"'First They Killed My Father' tackles its subject matter with grace, skill, and empathy, offering a ground-level look at historic atrocities that resonates beyond its story's borders." -Metacritic
We strongly suggest taking the time to view this film and learn about the atrocities committed against the Cambodian people. Cambodia's recent history is complex and tumultuous and cannot be forgotten. The resiliency and strength of the Cambodian people, and the kindness they exude, is truly humbling especially considering what they went through less than 40 years ago.