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Enemies of the People
An Emily Blunt Review
Subtitles
Directed by Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin
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Bluntly speaking? The Khmer Rouge's reign in Cambodia, has a notorious notch in history’s timeline. But, unlike, say Nazi Germany, it is not as studied; the psychology of how neighbor turns against neighbor. This outrageous few years is not the stuff of museums and American history classes. Many do not even know what happened. Those who do still ask why.

Approximately one quarter of the population lost their lives; one quarter – that is not a misprint. Men, women and children. The Khmer Rouge regime murdered over a neighboring country's political movements, (Vietnam), and the paranoia that grew within two of Cambodia's leaders that “infiltrators” would take down their new communist regime.

After executing any high-level officials the two felt may be party resisters they took aim at farmers and workers. Villagers considered traitors (without trial or proof) were put to death.

Thet Sambath, who lost his father, mother and brother to the Khmer Rouge has become a journalist. And most recently, leaving behind his family, and safety, he has been working for years to gain the trust of a few still-living players in the “Killing Fields,” and the actual Second in Command’s trust. Your stomach churns as Sambath smiles and documents confessions of their crimes in the late 1970s.

Though it has been decades since the killings there is still a country-wide silence about who did what and why. Sambath (along with co-director Rob Lemkin), weave through the agonizing footage of kindly-looking old men and women who once slaughtered their neighbors.

I can not think of any other mass-murder-in-history documentary that has captured (on film) the confessions of those directly involved. Some regretful, some filled with shame…others still standing by their decision that the deaths were to protect their country. The footage is remarkable. Sambath undertook the years of sacrificing and under cover friendships to document the crimes for future generations. He uncovers the truth as painful as it must have been for him personally.

This is an extremely important documentary. You will be moved to tears as a realization that so many died without reason starts to unfold. You realize, fear of being killed themselves, power over others, and “orders” from unverified sources lead to genocide.

After sweeping through film festivals, Enemies of the People” is now available on DVD; which is great as you may need several stop-and-starts, the subject matter is so upsetting. There are hours of additional features and bonus features in the 2-disc offer. Get this and share this. It is not easy to watch, but is important to watch.

Snack recommendation: Nothing. Maybe chamomile tea…

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