(for a downloadable version, follow the title link to Vimeo)
A personal message from Robert:
As a child of the Holocaust, I was initially drawn to Cambodia because I was curious to see if there were any lingering effects of the Khmer Rouge genocide in today’s young people.
I was determined not to make a doom and gloom movie. Rather, I wanted to provide a sweeping portrait of the country, its people and history, its politics and psychology. Of course there was no way to avoid Cambodia’s darkest period.
I got lucky and got a two-hour, eyeball-to-eyeball interview with Hun Sen, Cambodia’s strongman/prime minister who never gives interviews.
Rather than using a crew in Cambodia, I shot the 149 interviews recording the sound by myself and using only available lighting. It allowed people to be comfortable enough to share their most intimate thoughts. My intention is that this be a story of hope and recovery told through the Cambodian people— the young and old, artists and teachers, politicians and just plain ordinary people.
Having lived through the Vietnam war, I was forced to come to grips with Nixon and Kissinger’s secret bombing and incursion into this neutral country that helped set the stage for the rise of the Khmer Rouge. It strikes me that in the present political climate the film has an immediacy that makes the story today as relevant as ever.
Our production team’s hope is that this film will build on the major success of our previous film “They Call It Myanmar.”
Robert H. Lieberman, Director