The Harrowing Trailer for Angelina Jolie’s Adaptation of First They Killed My Father

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“A daughter of Cambodia remembers so the world may never forget.” The first trailer for the adaptation of Loung Ung’s First They Killed My Father begins in 1975, and captures the experience of a young girl and her family from the start of the Pol Pot regime to the worst of the Khmer Rouge period. It looks to be a brutal, but important film.

In a featurette we shared a few months ago, director Angelina Jolie and Ung talk about their friendship and the work they put into writing the film together, as well as the connection Jolie built with the country through her son Maddox  The film faced some early criticism recently because of an anecdote from Jolie’s Vanity Fair interview, which recalled a “game” from the casting directors that sounded both exploitative and cruel.

“They put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away,” it said, “The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie.” Many were naturally horrified at what sounded like a manipulative and monstrous psychological game, though Jolie and the film’s producers have since responded that the allegations were “false and upsetting.”

Jolie told HuffPost, “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.” Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh who also produced the film (and is himself a survivor of the Cambodian genocide), also clarified that the team had experts on set to ensure the mental and emotional well-being of those on set:

“Because the memories of the genocide are so raw, and many Cambodians still have difficulty speaking about their experiences, a team of doctors and therapists worked with us on set every day so that anyone from the cast or crew who wanted to talk could do so.”

First They Killed My Father comes to Netflix September 15th. Are you going be watching?

(image: screencap)

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