Angelina Jolie’s new Netflix film First They Killed My Father, which streams September 15th, recently came under fire for its supposed exploitation of child actors. The director denied the claims, but so far most publicity about the movie has focused on this element. Thanks to the brand new trailer Netflix just dropped on YouTube, however, that’s all about to change.
Based on the on Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung’s memoir First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, Jolie’s film recounts the author’s childhood during the reign of the dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, the name given to Cambodia’s communist party. After attaining power in 1975, Pot’s regime spent the next four years committing heinous atrocities against its own people during the “Cambodian genocide,” which resulted in the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 to 3 million people.
Reminiscent of the Idris Elba-starring Beasts of No Nation from 2015, the first original Netflix film to garner serious awards buzz, the trailer for Jolie’s film does little to provide viewers with any details about Ung’s story. A brief title card identifying the year and a short snippet of a television news report identity Cambodia’s upheaval in 1975, but the rest of the trailer consists of violent, war-torn shots of the country, its denizens and their oppressors. Jolie’s past directorial efforts (Unbroken) and the power of Ung’s memoir, however, suggest First They Killed My Father will be both poignant and disturbing.