Archive

New Film Exhibit Gives Khmer Rouge a Voice

An unidentified former soldier looks on near the once Khmer Rouge-stronghold border town of Pailin. The video installation, co-produced by filmmakers Thomas Webner Carlsen and Jan Krogsgard, runs 43 hours in total and examines the lives of the former sold
An unidentified former soldier looks on near the once Khmer Rouge-stronghold border town of Pailin. The video installation, co-produced by filmmakers Thomas Webner Carlsen and Jan Krogsgard, runs 43 hours in total and examines the lives of the former sold
Pich SamnangVOA Khmer

Low-ranking Khmer Rouge cadre, 30 in all, will have their say and then some in a massive video installation opening this week in Phnom Penh.

The “Voices of the Khmer Rouge” exhibit contains 30 lengthy interviews with former Khmer Rouge now living in pockets along the Thai border, as men and women aged 38 to 70 give their reasons for joining the movement. And staying with it.

“The way I feel, I think Pol Pot was a good man,” a former soldier tells interviewers. “He is the hero in the struggle, although there were killings, some mistakes.”

The video installation, co-produced by filmmakers Thomas Webner Carlsen and Jan Krogsgard, runs 43 hours in total and examines the lives of the former soldiers.

Carlsen told VOA Khmer in an interview the idea was to learn more about them.

“Are they basically just criminals like Pol Pot, like Nuon Chea, or who are they?” he said. “This is a very important question. And we don’t want to come up with any firm and final answer to that question; we just want to give as many people as we can the possibility, the opportunity, to get acquainted with these people themselves and then they can judge for themselves who they think the Khmer Rouge are.”

The filmmakers said in a statement they want the scope of the installation to raise questions about “gatekeepers” of information, the authors of history and “to challenge representation as we know it.” “When do we know enough to reach conclusions, when are we overwhelmed by information and must refrain from concluding in general terms?”

Within the monologues soldiers talk about their experience under the regime and their reasons for joining it, but they also address the possibility of a tribunal—something that had not been established when the interviews were conducted.

“Please try the Khmer Rouge leaders,” one soldier says. “And America has to pay us compensation,” he adds, a reference to the US bombings of Cambodia during its war with Vietnam.

“If China had not given Khmer Rouge guns, how could they shoot?” he says. “If America had not offered weapons such as mines, how could they have laid mines so that people's legs are blown off and they have to live very difficult lives? So who is responsible for this? This is the responsibility of the greater powers, so sentence all of these countries too; the Khmer Rouge was under your feet.”

Carlsen said the installation, which took five years to edit and prepare, should counterbalance some of the sensationalization surrounding the Khmer Rouge.

“I believe that there is more to these stories than just blood, the killings, forced labor, torture and starvation and all these terrible disasters,” he said. “Who were the people behind these? Were they all bad people? Should they all be considered criminals?”

“Voices of the Khmer Rouge” will run for two weeks at the Bosphana Center in Phnom Penh starting March 4.

“When people hear the voices of the former Khmer Rouge cadre themselves, they will better understand them,” said Sar Kosal, event manager for the Bosphana Center, “and think again whether they should hate these soldiers or reconcile with them.”

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Demonstrators Call on Government To Fulfill Principles of Peace Accordsi
X
24 October 2014
Hundreds of activists demonstrated in Phnom Penh on Thursday, gathering to protest the government’s failure to fulfill the promises of the Paris Peace Accords, which were signed in 1991 and brought liberal democracy and a constitution to a country that had been shattered by war. The demonstrators submitted a petition to the US and other embassies, calling for international pressure on the Cambodian government to follow the accords. (Kong Sothanarith, Phnom Penh)

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face the Music (Movie: Yes Man)i
X
20 October 2014
You can say, "You lied, and lied, but this time you got caught. It's time you 'face the music'. It's time you confess and tell the truth." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Face the Music (Movie: Yes Man)

You can say, "You lied, and lied, but this time you got caught. It's time you 'face the music'. It's time you confess and tell the truth." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Hit the Nail on the Head (Movie: Inside Job)

You can say, "The professor 'hit the nail on the head' when she said, that we cannot demand respect, respect must be earned and not given freely." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish or www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori. To contact Mani & Mori
Video

Video Speak of the Devil (Movie: Easy A)

You can say, "Speaking of the devil, there she is! Hey, we were just talking about you a moment ago." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Rock the Boat (Movie: 500 Days of Summer)

You can say, "Things are going really well between the two of you - he's happy and you're happy, so why 'rock the boat'?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
See more >>>