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The Killing Fields [DVD]
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The true story of the friendship between Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor) and Sidney Schanberg (Sam Waterson). The film begins in 1973 with Schanberg a New York Times journalist assigned to Cambodia, and assisted in his efforts by local representative Dith Pran. When Pnomh Penh falls to the Khmer Rouge two years later, Dith Pran helps Schanberg escape but must himself remain behind. Back in New York, Schanberg begins to draw up plans for how he might rescue his friend. With John Malkovich and Julian Sands appearing in supporting roles, the film won three Academy Awards.
This harrowing but rewarding 1984 drama concerns the real-life relationship between New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg and his Cambodian assistant Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), the latter left at the mercy of the Khmer Rouge after Schanberg--who chose to stay after American evacuation but was booted out--failed to get him safe passage. Filmmaker Roland Joffé, previously a documentarist, made his feature debut with this account of Dith's rocky survival in the ensuing madness of the Khmer Rouge's genocidal campaign. The script of The Killing Fields spends some time with Schanberg's feelings of guilt after the fact, but most of the movie is a shattering re-creation of hell on Earth. The late Haing S. Ngor--a real-life doctor who had never acted before and who lived through the events depicted by Joffé--is outstanding, and he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Oscars also went to cinematographer Chris Menges and editor Jim Clark. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Killing Fields" takes us back to 1975s Phnom Penh, Cambodian capital, during which the communist guerrilla group Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot seized the city, formed a new government and forced the dwellers to move to the countryside to work in collective farms and labor camps with the goal of restarting of civilization in "Year Zero". During the next 4 years of their rule, these "policies" caused the death of ~ 3 million people (one third of the population) either from execution, torture, starvation, overwork, and disease. Under this apocalyptic environment, "The Killing Fields" tells the true ordeal and survival story of Cambodian photojournalist, Dith Pran, who endured the atrocities of Khmer Rouge regime: captured, tortured, punished for befriending American journalists and forced to work in labor camps in barbaric conditions.
To me, the most impressive thing about "The Killing Fields" is the ravishing cinematography by Academy Award winner Chris Menges. From start to end, The photography is nothing but gorgeous. All shots are meticulously planned, properly balanced and perfectly contrasted, harmonizing the beauty of countryside with ravages of war. The colors are well saturated and look wonderful. Subtle details are well presented, sharp and clearly visible with an emphasis on naturalism.Read more ›
The film is very well cast, with excellent acting and character depth as shown by Haing Ngor winning a well deserved oscar for best supporting actor. It is at times brutal, at others touching.
Why is it so good then?
This is a love story, about the love between two men. It is harrowing, heartwrenching, breathtaking and overpowering. It follows the plights of both men, thousands of miles apart, one fighting for his life, the other fighting with his guilt.
Dith Pran (Dr Ngor), victim of the brutal Khymer Rouge, has got to be one of the most convincing portrayals of fear and depseration ever captured on film. If you can watch his plight and remained unmoved, then seek clinical help, your heart has stopped!
If by the end of this film, you haven't choked back a large amount of tears, then rewind it, because you didn't see it, you only watched it!
'The Killing Fields' is a key war film and one that I'd rank alongside such key examples of the genre as 'Come and See', 'Fires on the Plain', 'Rome, Open City', 'Three Kings', 'All Quiet on the Western Front', 'The Deer Hunter','Downfall','The Battle of Algiers',Ashes and Diamonds' & 'The Red and the White.' I would highly reccomend the chapter of 'Smoking in Bed' (a book comprising interviews with Bruce Robinson regarding his career) on this film. It's probably the most honest take on the film - countering Joffe and Puttnam's utopic notions that films can change anything, criticsing the fictional 'friendship' between Dith Pran and Sydney Schanberg and the use of John Lennon's 'Imagine' at the end.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not for the faint hearted. We viewed this prior to travelling to Cambodia. It made our visit to the Killing Fields even more poingnant.Published 3 months ago by HEd Start