The trailer for Angelina Jolie’s upcoming Netflix original film, First They Killed My Father was released on 2 August. Based on the 2000 memoir by Loung Ung, it chronicles the Khmer Rouge genocide that rocked Cambodia under the dictatorial regime of Pol Pot during the 1970s. Ung lost her parents and two of her siblings in the mayhem.
The trailer of the film is intense and nerve-wracking. To imagine what little Ung might have gone through during the conflict gives the viewer chills. The trailer aptly captures the entire period of militancy, social unrest, war, deaths, deprivation through the protagonist’s eyes, which is one of the most remarkable aspects of the film. The trailer starts with a happy family and then gradually builds the tension — both in audio and video. Jolie has been able to show that, although the film is about Ung’s ordeal, it also encompasses the whole society. Hence, it is a people’s film on a micro-level.
The film, shot entirely in Cambodia, was recently mired in a controversy when Vanity Fair reported about a “strange method” that was used during the casting of the film. In order to draw the deepest, realest and rawest emotions from the actors of the movie, the makers decided to give money to an impoverished Cambodian child and subsequently take it away. Based on the reaction, Srey Moch was selected for the lead role in the movie, as she was “overwhelmed with emotion.” After Vanity Fair published it, Jolie and her team received flak from critics and people from all over the world.
However, Jolie later explained how the information divulged to the popular magazine was misunderstood and falsely reported. She explained that Vanity Fair’s narrative was indeed a legitimate scene from the film and not a casting procedure. Speaking to The Huffington Post, Jolie said, “Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present. I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened.”
Cambodia is a place that is very close to Jolie’s heart, most importantly because she had adopted her son Maddox from this very country. First They Killed My Father is the largest production the country has ever seen since the conflict.
The film will be streamed on Netflix on 15 September this year.
Watch the trailer of the film :