ROB LEMKIN, THET SAMBATH
Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Old Street Films. United Kingdom/Cambodia, 2009. Directed by Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath. Screenplay by Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath. Cinematography by Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath. Produced by Rob Lemkin, That Sambath. Music by Daniel Pemberton. Film Editing by Stefan Ronowicz.
Thet Sambath undergoes an awe-inspiring experience in this heartbreaking documentary that forces Cambodia to look back to its ugly history of the last half-century. Himself a child of parents killed by the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, Sambath travels the country (at his own expense and that of his family’s) and interviews former members of the Khmer Rouge who participated in the murder of millions. Documentaries that cover the aftermath of atrocity usually focus on the victims, but here it is a fascinating twist to have perpetrators telling their stories. Most notable is Sambath’s relationship with the now-aged Nuon Chea, “Brother Number Two”, former second-in-command to Pol Pot, who has grown into old age without letting down any of his brutal political idealism and, for many of the years that Sambath works with him, has no idea that he is actually that close to one of his victims. Sambath stated that he didn’t want to prejudice his subject and therefore waited a very long time before revealing his connection, and when he does it is probably one of the most incredible moments ever captured on camera.