Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dreams and Nightmares

Journalist and filmmaker Tom Fawthrop (pictured) gave an in-depth analysis of both the existing Khmer Rouge Tribunal and the circumstances surrounding his 1989 documentary at Meta House tonight, as an interested audience watched his Dreams and Nightmares: Cambodia Ten Years After Pol Pot film, which he directed and produced for Channel 4's Bandung series a decade after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime. Fawthrop's first visit to Cambodia was in 1981 and he returned in late 1988 to film his 30-minute documentary with a film crew of just two others. The situation in Cambodia was on the change after the Vietnamese withdrawal and moves were afoot to agree some sort of peace accord between the warring factions. Hun Sen was the man in power within Cambodia but he was in no mood to surrender any ground to the Khmer Rouge or Norodom Sihanouk, who was still allied with the KR at the behest of China. The film includes interviews with Hun Sen and is clear in its message of displeasure at the international community who continued, at that time, to treat Cambodia as a pariah, favouring instead the Khmer Rouge coalition whilst conveniently ignoring the evidence of KR atrocities during the 70s. A shameful period in the history of the wider international community in my view. Screenshots from the documentary are shown here.
Skulls of Khmer Rouge victims exhumed from a mass grave
A youthful Hun Sen refuses to concede power to the Khmer Rouge
The rubbish-strewn streets of Phnom Penh after the Khmer Rouge fall

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