The Killing Fields

UK 1984
Director : Roland Joffé
Cast : Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich

141 Min. | OmU | Original with german Subtitles

Retrospective

After years in a Khmer Rouge re-education camp, the journalist Dith Pran has finally managed to escape. On his way through endless rice paddies, he ends up in the middle of the »The Killing Fields«, the open mass graves where victims of Pol Pot’s reign of terror lie. The moment when Pran realizes the unspeakable extent of the killings, burns itself indelibly into one’s brain. Roland Joffé and his director of photography Chris Menges orchestrate the horror of the genocide in images that intensify the documentary aspects of the scene into the apocalyptic. Apart from the portrayal of the Khmer Rouge’s crimes, Roland Joffé and his screenwriter Bruce Robinson also tell a rather contradictory story. Before Dith Pran became a victim of the new regime, he was a translator for New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg. It was him, played by Sam Waterston, who was responsible for Pran staying in Phnom Penh even after the Khmer Rouge took the city. Therefore »The Killing Fields« vividly also exposes the irresponsibility of liberal Americans and Europeans who repeated the mistakes made by colonial rulers and usurpers in the name of truth.