Why We’ll Be Watching Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father”

Why We’ll Be Watching Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father”

Why We’ll Be Watching Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father”

First They Killed My Father is an American-made historical thriller based on the memoir of the same name by Loung Ung, a Cambodian American human rights activist. Some people will have heard of the movie because it is directed as well as co-written by Angelina Jolie, who has had an interest in the Southeast Asian country ever since she filmed Lara Croft: Tomb Raider there in 2001. Regardless, those who are interested can find First They Killed My Father on Netflix, where it has been available since February 18 of 2017.

What Is the Background of First They Killed My Father?

People who are familiar with Cambodia’s not so distant past will find it no surprise to learn that First They Killed My Father is set during the Khmer Rouge rule of Cambodia. For those who are unfamiliar with that name, the Khmer Rouge refers to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea that rose to power in Cambodia by overthrowing the Khmer Republic, which had risen to power by launching a coup d’etat against the Prince of Cambodia. Since the Khmer Republic was backed by the United States, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Khmer Rouge received significant support from the North Vietnamese, who were reliant on Cambodian territories as shelter for their installations from US incursions as well as US bombing runs.

Regardless, once the Khmer Rouge were in power, it launched what has come to be called the Cambodian Genocide. In total, the regime is said to have killed somewhere between 740,000 and 3,000,000 people, though most estimates fall between 1.4 million and 2.2 million people. Half of those victims are said to have been executed, whereas the rest were killed through a combination of disease and starvation. Primarily, the Khmer Rouge targeted people with connections to either the previous or foreign governments, people with an education, people living in the cities, and people belonging to ethnic minorities in a brutal effort to create a classless society.

Examples of its horrors ranged from the breakup of families and the complete elimination of privacy to the removal of entire populations from the cities, the execution of people for conducting “private enterprise” when picking wild fruits and berries, and the execution of people for wearing glasses on the basis that they had spent too much time reading rather than laboring. The Khmer Rouge’s punishments were even more bizarre in the light of the fact that some of its top leadership fell within the categories that were being targeted, with an excellent example being the Prime Minister Pol Pot who was a well-educated man of mixed Sino-Khmer ancestry who spoke fluent French.

Why Is First They Killed My Father a Must-See Movie?

First They Killed My Father is Loung Ung’s recollection of what happened to her as well as her family under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. It tells how they were forced to run from place to place for fear that her father’s status as a high-ranking official in the previous government would be discovered, which culminated in the breakup of the family as well as the disappearances of numerous members. In particular, it focuses on the experiences of Loung Ung, who was forced to train as a child soldier at one point to fight the Vietnamese who had invaded in response to the Khmer Rouge’s incursions. As a result, First They Killed My Father should be seen because it covers a period of history that is little-known in the West but should nonetheless be remembered.

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