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Garbage, if I wanted to read I would pick up a f***** book!
Relating mostly from the perspective of a child, Angelina Jolie's adaptation of Loung Ung's biographical memoir, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, succeeds in soliciting deep empathy for the juveniles enduring the terrors of Khmer Rouge regime despite some of her sometime uneven directing.
While I didn't enjoy this movie by any means, in fact it was quite hard to sit through, it is executed well technically and heart-wrenching in its depiction of the atrocities of war. I was moved to tears at times and was left pondering about the depths of human cruelty. Watching it with my mum, who is also a victim of a communist revolution which changed her and my family's life completely, I couldn't help but deeply empathize with all the victims of wars past and present. Its focus never strays from the first hand perspective of its very young protagonist, in her the movie finds it's greatest strength. While the lead is almost silent throughout the film, her eyes speak volumes and Jolie does an adept job at directing large crowds of extras in extremely chaotic scenarios all around her, while never wavering from capturing Srey Moch Sareum's meaningful gaze. The screenplay started off as a book by the real life protagonist of this tragic nightmare, Loung Ung, in which she tells the extremely personal story of her family and their tragic journey through the devastated countryside. I can't easily recommend this film nor would I ever want to watch it again, but in forcing me to confront this savagery, even in as slight a way as movie watching, it motivated me to feel and think deeply on the human condition and how we can ever do these kinds of things to each other.
â~First They Killed My Father' is an excellent rendition of the individual's struggle throughout the early Khmer Rouge occupation in 1970s Cambodia. Loung, a young Cambodian girl during the regime, follows the story of the film's writer of the same name who experienced first-hand tragedy, brutality, and violence. The film accurately portrays how Cambodians struggled under the regime, taking a more intimate perspective: a scale of about the size of a family or individual. Propaganda was effectively demonstrated in this film, through music, dance, and rhetoric that were installed in the minds of camp prisoners; children aggressively targeted. A shortcoming of the film is it fails to provide more of a background on the events leading up to April 17, 1975. During the beginning, a soldier mentions that the Americans were going to bomb the city and that is why they are being forced to evacuate. While true that this is what happened in real life, it was really a guise set up by the Angkar to instill fear in citizens. Life was not as colorful and easy-going as depicted early in the film because of the instability throughout the region years prior to its setting. Despite these shortcomings, the film did an excellent job focusing on the actual occupation: the treacherous exodus from Phnom Penh, the brutal labor camps, and getting caught up in warfare were all parts of the realities that families needed to overcome in order to survive â" sadly, around two million Cambodians would not make it.
Nice cinematography, and the girl's story is moving and powerful. Beyond that, I was a bit annoyed with the "blame America" tone of the film.
I don't have a problem with the idea that the US did wrong things during their campaign in Cambodia. I'm not an apologist for America. But I do have a problem generally with countries not taking responsibility for their own moral failures.
It's just a solid life principle that if you always blame other people for your problems, nothing will get better. I think the same applies to nations. It's easy for leaders to use an external boogeyman as a scapegoat for their own failures. It's harder to look in the mirror and accept responsibility. America did not force the Khmer Rouge to slaughter a quarter of their own people. The people who chose to do that are responsible.
The subject of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia has been the subject of a number of movies but none, to my knowledge before have viewed the events from the eyes of a child. Based on a real account, First They Killed My Father is a harrowing story of a truly horrific period of history whit lead to the death of a quarter of the population of Cambodia. Directed by Angelina Jolie, this story doesn't shy from the unspeakable cruelty and insanity that gripped the nation and brutally tore society apart. With the focus of the story being one family of innocent victims, we see a powerful study of how ordinary people, forced into extraordinary circumstances sometimes have to try their best to survive against the odds. The bonds of family love and sacrifice portrayed so powerfully here are moving and thought-provoking making for an excellent, if difficult film to watch.
Definitely a must see film!
I thought this was a great movie. Could feel the trauma of the little Luong. Thumbs up to Angelina Jolie great job directing this film.
As a piece of history, there's an unlikely chance of approaching the facts to find and learn about another harsh layer being hidden then added to a well-known already established weight of a periodic war. Film brought it to light under a young perspective that director Angelina Jolie delivers exceptionally with emotional empathy and powerful execution, especially when the main haunting infection of war is distanced from the aforementioned perspective. It gets stronger when the true meaning gets unveiled at the end. Masterful with a tight grip and gritty tensity, it's also bound to be divisively received when going along the traumatized memories of war-mongering resulted hardship with a harsh nature that may be too much for one to handle by sitting through it. It's generally a hard movie with strong efforts and production values to solidify its understandable value at a maximum while the enjoyment level only met the positive minimum. (B)
(Full review TBD)
Movie that is powerful and hard hitting. The cinematography is phenomenal but after reading the book lacks narrative flow like the novel. Seems to much like a bunch of memories glopped together. (56%)