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Roland Joffe

The Killing Fields

Produzent: David Puttnam

Gesehen: 2004

Dies ist die Vefilmung zu The Death and Life of Dith Pran

Because it is about something that really happened, this movie is among those which impress me the most. It is not a documentary, and it is not a typical biography (though it is, in a way, biographical), it is more like a (bad) adventure story, but real. Mike Oldfield's music is famous, and in fact I knew at least some of the music before I watched the movie. I couldn't have guessed how fitting the music is for that movie.

Since my visit to Cambodia, and since I learned more details about the countrys' recent history, it is one subject that doesn't leave me. To see the effects of perverse cold war reasoning on an otherwise uninvolved country that happened to be in the wrong geographical position means to realise how superficially our democratic and humanistic values are set into our culture.

The movie is about Sidney Schanberg's book, "The Death and Life of Dith Pran", which I haven't read and would like to read, but it is out of print. It starts 30 years ago, in April 1975, and 30 years after the end of World War II and the liberation of the concentration camps. So it is half way in time between WW2 and now, and this bothers me as well: WW2 seemed so far away, so long gone, in 1975, and it seemed to belong to a dark age of the past which was long over, while the Khmer Rouge and the end of the Vietnam are to me part of the "recent" history and of the current age. Since the world didn't learn enough in the 30 years between 1945 and 1975, I don't think it likely that it learned enough between 1975 and now.

It starts with the accidental bombing of Neak Leung, a town on the Mekong, by American Bombers. Reporter Sidney Schanberg finds out about it, and finds that the U.S. military are lying to the reporters because they fear that the American public won't respond too well to such news. There's a scene where a young woman on a motorbike asks Schanberg a question, and this will probably support my hypothesis that Cambodian women are the most beautiful in the world. When the Khmer Rouge advance on Phnom Penh, American citizens and people working for them are evacuated, including Dith Pran's family, but Schanberg decides to stay behind, and Pran decides to stay with Schanberg. They are eventually rounded up, and the foreigners are evicted from the country, while the Cambodians fall into the hands of the Khmer Rouge. The eviction scene is also described in Jon Swain's River of Time - Swain is the guy who gives his passport in order to make a fake one for Pran.

Schanberg returns to the U.S., wins the Pulitzer prize, but remains guilt-ridden because he assumes Pran dead. Swain also finds Schanberg at fault (he never mentions this in his own book, though).

Meanwhile, Dith Pran tries to survive in the Khmer Rouge labour camps by pretending to be an uneducated country boy.

This is a historical interesting movie that gives some background about the Vietnam war and its side effects, about the "secret bombings", and the incredible things that happened during the Khmer Rouge rule.

Mehr ├╝ber Kambodscha

Film: The Killing Fields

Buch: River of Time

Buch: First They Killed My Father

Buch: Lucky Child

Buch: The Death and Life of Dith Pran


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