Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cambodia's Forgotten Killing Field

Cambodian-born documentary filmmaker Hom Chohhrn was just five-years-old when he was shipped off by the Khmer Rouge to Camp 32. After immigrating to Australia at the age of 13 and making several trips back to his native country since, he is readying a documentary about his belated search for survivors of a camp for which there is no official record.

Part of the impetus for the film, titled simply In Search of Camp 32, is that Chhorn's mother is gravely ill. He wants to complete the feature documentary before she passes away and prove to her that if only through his efforts, someone does still care about what happened to members of their family and an estimated total of 30,000 victims at this secretive location.



In interviews, Chhorn is very guarded about the contents of the film. But he does hint that he made some major discoveries during his trip back about the cover-up surrounding a place where he was once forced to work in the rice fields, without food or water. As a child, he survived on shrubs, insects and anything else he could scrounge up. From the film's official synopsis:

The visual style and structure incorporates the use of never-before-seen films from the personal collection of Norodom Sihanouk (The King-Father of Cambodia), archival news footage, animated sequences providing both light relief and historical accounts, video diaries, re-enactments of Hom’s time at Camp 32 and stunning cinematography showcasing the majestic scenery and architecture of Cambodia.

On his father's side, the now 37-year-old Chhorn lost an astonishing 65 relatives to the Khmer Rouge genocide. His mother meanwhile was deprived of four immediate siblings. The film is scheduled to be released by the end of 2012.

[In Search of Camp 32]

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