By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter
Based on Loung Ung’s 2001 memoir “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers,” Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father” follows a fictional 5-year-old Ung—played fiercely by first-time actress Sareum Srey Moch—as she fights for survival during the Cambodian Genocide.
In 1975, following the end of the Vietnam War, The Communist Party of Kampuchea, informally known as the Khmer Rouge, took control of the Cambodian Government with the goal of turning the nation into a “utopia.”
But such intentions ultimately proved to be only a fallacious veiling of the party’s more sinister approach to obtaining and holding power.
During the Rouge’s four-year reign, an estimated 1.7 to 2 million Cambodians were either slain or sent to labor camps, one of whom was Ung’s father, who was murdered right in front of the young girl’s eyes before she and her six brothers and sisters were kidnapped from their family home in Phnom Penh.
Palisadian newcomer Marco Beltrami, also known for his work on “Logan,” “World War Z” and “The Hurt Locker,” has crafted the film’s harrowingly somber score that will haunt viewers until the end credits roll.
The film received well-rounded reviews and a standing ovation from critics after the Netflix original made its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on Sept. 3.
National publications from The Guardian to IndieWire are hailing the deeply emotional movie Jolie’s “best film yet,” a possible indicator that the actress-turned-writer/director may make it into the running for next year’s Oscar season.
“First They Killed My Father” is now streaming on Netflix.