Angelina Jolie begins production for Netflix film based on Cambodian activist's memoir https://t.co/rVEvW6w1te pic.twitter.com/cSwTEOtbCc— NBC Asian America (@NBCAsianAmerica) February 26, 2016
Ung, who moved to the United States with her brother in 1980, was only 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge army invaded her native city of Phnom Penh. In a 2015 interview with the website Banana Writers, Ung recounted writing her [three] books out of the desire to reclaim her voice and use it to tell people not only of what happened in wars, but how families managed to survive its aftermath.
"As a child, I used to get angry when I heard people say how fortunate I was for being so young in the war. As if to imply that I had somehow forgotten or did not remember what happened," Ung said. "When the words came to me as an adult, I knew I had to speak up for that silent child in order to free her. ... Writing 'First They Killed My Father' allowed me to give my child-self back her voice."
Ung's parents, two sisters, and 20 other relatives were among the victims.
"Memoirs bring the numbers of casualties to a human face," Ung told Banana Writers. "A story, a father, a mother, a daughter, a family. A memoir connects the humanity in us, which is a great way to promote peace in our world."
Jolie is directing the movie, which has an all-Cambodian cast, not with the intent of revisiting the horrors of the war, but to have people empathize with the characters and learn about Cambodia.
"What is special about this particular story is that it is told from the perspective of a 5-year-old child, and is based on a child's emotional experience of war," Jolie told the AP last year. "It sheds light not only on the experience of children during the genocide in Cambodia but of all children who endure war."