First They Killed My Father (2017) is a Khmer,English,French movie. Angelina Jolie has directed this movie. Sareum Srey Moch,Phoeung Kompheak,Sveng Socheata,Mun Kimhak are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2017. First They Killed My Father (2017) is considered one of the best Biography,Drama,History,War movie in India and around the world.
In the 70's, a Cambodian middle-class girl sees the lives of her family and her turning upside-down when the Khmer Rouge invades the Cambodia. They leave their comfortable apartment and lifestyle to live in a primitive working camp. Her father, a former officer, is killed and the family splits to survive.
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I saw this in Olympic Stadium earlier this year. The sets and costumes were terrific, as was the cinematography. I wasn't a big fan of the book that it was based on, but it was apparent that a lot of effort had gone into making the film adaptation historically accurate. The film is deliberately understated, and rather than showing much violence or gore, it instead has this implicit threat running below the surface. It's definitely worth seeing!
First of all, I think the way Jolie directed this movie is beautiful and real. Words couldn't describe how appreciated I am for her to put this bitter history of Cambodia on screen. The only thing that kept bugging my mind is that I didn't feel the sympathy and frights as much as I supposed to do. There were so many times where I felt like the book could be way far better than the action movie (despite the fact that, I haven't even read the book). The movie ravels the story from the perspective of a kid so it is very understandable that there was very few dialog and there could be lots of time where you feel like---blank, nothing. There were times where the girl found herself in the middle of chaos, unable to process whats going on---and while watching such scenes, I could imagine myself intriguing to her thoughts in the book instead. What I mean is, the movie is without doubt, a masterpiece, but I don't think it is the best choice to tell this traumatic event through a kid perspective. Tho I think movie like this need to be produced, I can't deny that there are more cons than the pros for letting adults hear the story of a war from a kid. However, That was the only problem with the movie and it clearly deserves a watch. Especially for those who have known basic history of this event, I think you're going to enjoy it very much. I would definitely watch it all over again any day. (Please excuse all the written mistakes as English is not my native language.)
Exquisite cinematography, phenomenal performances, and a magnificent account of modern day genocide. Based on the incredible memoir by Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, tells a haunting story of survival. The images stay with you long after the film concludes, and you're left with an indelible memory of atrocities that are scarcely known. As well as an understanding of how human beings can transcend staggering circumstances. Must see!
As a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime who has lost many family members during those terrible years (my father included), I was really looking forward to watching Jolie's adaptation of Loung Ung's harrowing book. Nearly four decades have past since the events occurred between 1975 and 1979, and only two major Hollywood films have been scripted out of this genocide which cost the lives of 2 to 3 millions Cambodians (we will never know the true numbers): 'The Killing Fields' and now this Netflix movie. Both movies are complimentary and only provide a very imperfect picture of these dark times (imagine the Holocaust being resumed to 2 movies vs the thousands that currently exist...). Yet, if you don't know much about that part of history, I would advise watching "The Killing Fields" first (despite all its flaws - mostly the 80s soundtrack which hasn't aged well), and also Rithy Panh's amazing documentaries such as 'S-21' and 'The Missing Picture'. These movies are far better than 'First they killed my father..." which is very confounding given that Rithy Panh is also the main producer for this movie, and Loung Ung being the main screenwriter, one would have thought that it could have been a masterpiece. Yet what's really lacking in 'First they killed..." is the direction and overall storytelling of the piece. It is too produced & polished cinematographically with too many crane/drone shots, too many pretty shots which don't really add to the tragedy and sense of urgency and despair but rather drown it down to a pretty Hollywood/Netflix production. I didn't mind Jolie's previous directorial works, but this one is truly underwhelming and doesn't do justice to the book, nor the torturous experience of the Killing Fields or the excruciating exodus journey that many Cambodians encountered during these 4 infamous years. Don't get me wrong, there are some very emotional scenes in the movie, such as the death of Loung Ung's oldest sister or the scene where her other sister gets scolded by a Khmer Rouge for eating a raw bean she just picked in the fields. No doubt that the challenge of telling the story from the vantage point of a child (the book's inspiration was I believe, Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and contained many more thoughts that gave it such as singular voice) was a hurdle. And I'm sad to say that the lack of voice-over or inner thoughts or even dates & location titling in the movie didn't do the final product any favors, especially for a movie being a POV piece. My guess is that the book was rightfully criticized for being a patchwork of many accounts of the Khmer Rouge years as opposed to just being one single account by a 5-year old girl, and so the movie took on the artistic choice to avoid some of the book's flaws regarding the adult language used by the heroin girl. This ultimately created a movie with very little dialogue, nor context as if the audience is just viewing it from a distant observer's vantage point. Reducing the experience of the Pol Pot regime to just images, sound effects, a few words from the parents and a few repeated phrases uttered by the KR soldiers... and yes some archival footage at the start of the film about the US involvement in the conflict... The multiple dream sequences were particularly cheesy to me and unnecessary showcased the way it was done... It really was detrimental to the storytelling and instead of giving a poetic dimension to the film, gave it a rather Disney kids movie feel. The choice of the main young actress is confounding too... She is very one-dimensional throughout the whole movie, showing the same facial expression from beginning to the end with a few tears here and there. Her accompanying brother and sisters were far better actors, especially her only sister who survives - she was outstanding. As a survivor of the regime, I'm probably too attached to the subject matter. Yet, I feel that this movie had such an important role to play for the Cambodian cause and will play such a role due to it being prominently showcased right now, and I know that the director, producer and writer wanted to do their best given how connected they are to that cause. Ultimately this film is still a valuable watch, especially for those who don't know much about these grim years of terror. It will serve its purpose albeit being a very flawed movie in terms of screenplay, direction and conventional production. Here's hope for more movies about this dark period of history as more people become aware of it. It is technically pristine with nice cinematography, costume and art/set design/production, but lacks urgency, grit, guts, context, direction and purpose by being too attached to wanting to make it look like a movie a la "Schindler's List"... even the end is reminiscent of some of Spielberg's productions where the real Loung Ung and her surviving family pray in front of Buddhist monks on the grounds of an Angkor Temple... I'm really surprised that Rithy Panh would have used such a cliché to end the movie with... which makes me think that it was probably the director or writer's bad call. For those who want to learn more about the history, watch the other films I mentioned earlier which are far better movies than this Netflix production... Or just read Loung Ung's book if you liked the movie.. or better yet read "Cambodia Year Zero" by Francois Ponchaud, or "When the war was Over" by Elizabeth Becker as well as Rithy Panh's books.
What happens when all the norms of civilization implode. Filmed from the perspective of that of a child, superbly played by, first time actress Sareum Srey Moch who puts in a stunning performance. Perhaps we as adults forget the skills we had as children, like "Let's pretend" and those that relearn them are endowed with great wealth and honour. Angelina Jolie must be congratulated on her lightness of touch, definitely no Hollywood here. The cinematography is well shot, mostly at the height of a child which helps reinforce the helplessness of the protagonists in the dystopian, year zero world that is Cambodia in 1975. There have been many other films that give a more rounded interpretation of this period but none to my recollection, from the perspective of a child, and this is something that all of us can relate to given the special talents of Sareum Srey Moch, who magically takes us back to how a seven year old sees the world, for better or for worse.