Sydney Schanberg is a New York Times journalist covering the civil war in Cambodia. Together with the local journalist Dith Pran, they cover some of the tragedy and madness of the war. When the American forces leave, Dith Pran sends his family with them, but stays behind himself to help Schanberg cover the event. As an American, Schanberg won't have any trouble leaving the country, but the situation is different for Pran; he's a local, and the Khmer Rouge are moving in.Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the village of Neak Leung, a soldier is listening to Band on the Run by Wings. The accidental bombing of Neak Leung occurred in August 1973; the album Band on the Run was not released until October of that year. See more »
Cambodia. To many westerners it seemed a paradise. Another world, a secret world. But the war in neighboring Vietnam burst its borders, and the fighting soon spread to neutral Cambodia. In 1973 I went to cover this side-show struggle as a foreign correspondent of the New York Times. It was there, in the war-torn country side amidst the fighting between government troops and the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, that I met my guide and interpreter, Dith Pran, a man who was to change my life ...
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I watched this movie with my father shortly after it came out on video, so I would have been only 9 or 10 at the time. I did not see it again until this year, but I could still remember the scene of a lone man stumbling across a field strewn with the skeletons of his countrymen. Watching it again was both a moving and a worthwhile experience.
There are so many scenes which will, as the movie case says, haunt the viewer long after watching. The scene already mentioned, Waterston and Ngor wandering through the remains of the homes of Cambodian civilians destroyed by American bombs, a little girl, her hands over her ears, crying and screaming, surrounded by explosions and gunfire.
The acting performances are top notch all round, particularly, of course, by Dr. Ngor. The team of Joffe and Menges is superb, as they also are in The Mission. Both films are in my video library.
As an aside, whatever happened to Joffe? Super Mario Brothers? The Scarlet Letter? The Mission and The Killing Fields are such rich, well-crafted films. It's a shame that actors and directors are pulled towards Hollywood. Artistic integrity is priceless. Perhaps that's why it's given away by so many.
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