Filmmakers know how to tell a story without dialog. For years, directors didn’t have access to synchronized sound. The new trailer for Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father evokes an emotionally evocative story with only images and music. The film is set in Cambodia, but the pictures need no language. This is how a little girl sees her world at war. The torn teddy bear at the end brings this peak into the film to something universally personal.
You can watch the trailer here:
Netflix released a behind-the scenes featurette on Sept. 14. Cambodia’s “fearless” Khmer Rouge generation was remembered by the screenwriter.
Screenwriter Loung Ung “remembers the heat, the dust, people pouring through the streets, and the sounds of loud voices” in the opening of the behind the scenes trailer for First They Killed My Father. The sounds became so “scary, vivid and vibrant” Ung wrote a memoir of the experience so painfully personal it struck actress Angelina Jolie right in the heart. She adapted the book into her first director’s offering for Netflix.
The featurette’s interview with the author has her recall the days when Cambodia wanted to return to its “days of glory.” She was a child when she witnessed the truckloads of “soldiers in black shirts and black pants carrying guns and grenades on their belts.” The promised new generation was seen as protectors, providers, “our everything.”
That “everything” soon meant the people’s individuality as citizens were forced to give back to the community under new rules and regulations. The people became mentally militarized, and saw everything around them as a weapon, the featurette explains.
“This film is through the eyes of the child,” Jolie says. “It helps this not be a traditional film. No mind of a child is traditional and boring any way. I wanted to bring the audience into her mind, to see a happy five year old child become a nine year old victim of war.”
You can watch the featurette here:
“A 5-year-old girl embarks on a harrowing quest for survival amid the sudden rise and terrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia,” reads the official synopsis.
“First They Killed My Father is the adaptation of Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung’s gripping memoir of surviving the deadly Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1978. The story is told through her eyes, from the age of five, when the Khmer Rouge came to power, to nine years old. The film depicts the indomitable spirit and devotion of Loung and her family as they struggle to stay together during the Khmer Rouge years.”
First They Killed My Father was directed by Jolie, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ung, and produced it with acclaimed Cambodian director Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture).
You can watch the official trailer here:
First They Killed My Father was released on Friday, September 15 in theaters and globally on Netflix.