Friday, January 10, 2014

Thirty years on

A still from the film, The Killing Fields
The definitive film on the Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh and Cambodia, The Killing Fields, is thirty years old. Coinciding with the anniversary,Warner Bros have released the film on Blu-ray. They've included a commentary by director Roland Joffé, in which spends very little time talking about what is happening on-screen, instead choosing to use the commentary time to tell about how the film came to be, how he became attached to it, and stories about both the actors and their real-life counterparts. The original theatrical trailer for the movie, two and a half minutes long, is also included. This film is powerful in the extreme and was part of my fascination with Cambodia in the 1980s when there was very little information coming out from any source. It won three Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Haing S Ngor), Best Cinematography (Chris Menges) and Best Editing (Jim Clark) as well as nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Bruce Robinson), Best Director (Roland Joffé) and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Sam Waterston).

For those who are a bit techy, I'm not, this is something that might interest you. The film is out on Blu-ray in the digibook design, with the disc housed inside a cardboard booklet with a plastic holder glued to the back inside cover. The 36-page booklet inside the cover consists of historical background, bios of the actors, trivia, and a few quotes about the movie from notable critics – along with both color and black and white photographs. The inside front and back cover of the digibook consists of a montage of black and white photos from the movie. The back of the digibook includes a glued-on (and easily removable) slick with a synopsis of the movie as well as all the technical specifications for this Blu-ray release. The 50GB dual-layer Blu-ray isn't front loaded with any trailers and, after the Warner Bros. logo, goes straight to the main menu, which consists of the same still that is on the cover of the digibook, with menu selections along the bottom of the screen. Part of Mike Oldfield's score for the movie plays over the menu.

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