Actor-turned-director Angelina Jolie says she wishes people are able to see past the war-torn Cambodia and view the nation in a different light through her film First They Killed My Father. The 42-year-old actor hopes her directorial debut encourages people from around the world to visit the country and breathe more life into it, reports Psychologies magazine.
“I love this country so much and I hope that when people see the film, they don’t just see the war and the suffering, but they get to really know this Cambodian family. My wish is that they see the beautiful culture, language and talented artistes. I hope that people will come and bring work and travel to Cambodia,” says Jolie.
The actor, whose adopted son Maddox, 16, hails from the country, says she is proud of her Cambodian teammates for sticking with her for the film. “I was so proud of everybody in Cambodia and how hard they worked and participated in the creation of the film.
“It was also important for them, because one of the first steps the Khmer Rouge took was to kill all the artistes and writers and anyone who could be creative and expressive. So seeing Cambodian artists contributing to this film was special and beautiful,” she says.
The first-time director says recreating Pol Pot’s regime, the politician who orchestrated the Cambodian genocide, for the movie was a “cathartic” experience. “It was painful for everyone – you can imagine how hard it was for them to relive certain moments. Seeing Khmer Rouge soldiers marching up brought many traumatic memories. That’s why we made therapy available on the set for anyone who needed it.
“We were constantly talking about every scene and it was a way of bringing the crew together as a community. It was a cathartic process,” says Jolie.