Khmer Rouge film spurs Cambodians to revisit history
The Cambodian pond once bubbled as the bodies buried under the muck slowly decomposed, recalls an elderly Cambodian woman in the new documentary “Enemies of the People.”
Revisiting this horrific past is not meant to be an education in tragedy, co-director and Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath says in the film.
The history of the Khmer Rouge and subsequent decades of civil war are often suppressed by survivors, in Lowell and in Cambodia, who’d rather not recall how up to 2 million people – a quarter of the population – died from starvation, disease, and execution under the Maoist regime.
“I don’t see it as a film. I see it as an important document,” says Prach Ly, a Cambodian rapper from Long Beach, Calif., who attended the Lowell premier and is promoting the film. “The film is showing and giving knowledge.”