of the People
An Emily Blunt Review
Directed by Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin
The Khmer Rouge's reign in Cambodia, has a notorious notch in
history’s timeline. But, unlike, say Nazi Germany, it is
not as studied; the psychology of how neighbor turns against neighbor.
This outrageous few years is not the stuff of museums and American
history classes. Many do not even know what happened. Those who
do still ask why.
Approximately one quarter of the population lost their lives;
one quarter – that is not a misprint. Men, women and children.
The Khmer Rouge regime murdered over a neighboring country's political
movements, (Vietnam), and the paranoia that grew within two of
Cambodia's leaders that “infiltrators” would take
down their new communist regime.
executing any high-level officials the two felt may be party resisters
they took aim at farmers and workers. Villagers considered traitors
(without trial or proof) were put to death.
Sambath, who lost his father, mother and brother to the Khmer
Rouge has become a journalist. And most recently, leaving behind
his family, and safety, he has been working for years to gain
the trust of a few still-living players in the “Killing
Fields,” and the actual Second in Command’s trust.
Your stomach churns as Sambath smiles and documents confessions
of their crimes in the late 1970s.
it has been decades since the killings there is still a country-wide
silence about who did what and why. Sambath (along with co-director
Rob Lemkin), weave through the agonizing footage of kindly-looking
old men and women who once slaughtered their neighbors.
can not think of any other mass-murder-in-history documentary
that has captured (on film) the confessions of those directly
involved. Some regretful, some filled with shame…others
still standing by their decision that the deaths were to protect
their country. The footage is remarkable. Sambath undertook the
years of sacrificing and under cover friendships to document the
crimes for future generations. He uncovers the truth as painful
as it must have been for him personally.
is an extremely important documentary. You will be moved to tears
as a realization that so many died without reason starts to unfold.
You realize, fear of being killed themselves, power over others,
and “orders” from unverified sources lead to genocide.
sweeping through film festivals, Enemies of the People”
is now available on DVD; which is great as you may need several
stop-and-starts, the subject matter is so upsetting. There are
hours of additional features and bonus features in the 2-disc
this and share this. It is not easy to watch, but is important
Nothing. Maybe chamomile tea…