Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The family may have stayed at Amansara, a much smaller and more private hotel where they've stayed in the past.  It is part of the Aman chain they've long favored.  Brad stayed at an Aman in Turks & Caicos over Thanksgiving.  The press conference was held at Raffles.

Phloeun Prim is the executive director of Cambodia Living Arts

On Saturday night, I was lucky enough to attend the premiere of “First They Killed My Father” and I had the privilege of bringing my family with me. By my side was my wife Sophea born exactly nine months after the fall of Phnom Penh my children and my mom.
My two daughters, Sayana, 13, and Clara, 6, and my son Eden, 11, were all born in Cambodia and have lived here all their lives. My mother was born in Siem Reap. She lived in Cambodia through the whole period of the war, survived and immigrated to Canada with me and my dad.

I invited my dad to the premiere, but he didn’t want to join us. He said he did not need to see the film.
For him, no image could represent what he saw with his own eyes as he lived through that time. So he stayed at home while the rest of us arrived at the temple complex, where we were met by the excitement of a world premiere—a red carpet, a king and a Hollywood star.
Together we sat, three generations from 6 to 66 years old, and watched the film. We were sitting between students and villagers. Throughout the screening, we heard joy, surprise, tears and laughter.
Together we saw the story unfold, accompanied by the public reactions of the audience. On screen we saw beautiful scenes of rice fields that invoke nostalgia in every Cambodian.
As I sat in the outdoor temple setting, I could feel the uniquely Cambodia weather; blanketed by humidity, with a fresh cool breeze on my skin, I experienced sensations of my childhood that I had long forgotten.

Then, in the car on the way home, something unexpected happened. It began with a question from my son, asking me how long I lived through the Khmer Rouge.
My mom, who is a typical Cambodian housewife who never speaks about that time, answered first. She told him, “Your grandma and grandpa lived through the four years of the Khmer Rouge. Your dad was born during the Khmer Rouge and lived through it for three years. Your grandpa was also a soldier of Lon Nol and had to escape from the Khmer Rouge by walking to the border of Thailand.”
My daughter asked how long it took us to walk. Again my mom answered, “It took us three days and three nights walking through the jungle. Your grandpa tied your dad to his chest using a krama. Your dad was so skinny. For one whole day and one whole night we did not have water and food, but your dad did not cry.” “I remember the Khmer Rouge was running after us,” she continued.
“I heard gunshots and bombs exploding. I was exhausted and did not have the strength to keep going. At that point, I told your grandpa to keep running. I told him to take your dad, and leave me here; I was too tired to run. Then, keeping your dad in one hand, he grabbed me with his other hand. He kept pulling me and finally we all escaped safely.” That 30-minute car journey was the first time I have ever heard the story of how my family escaped the Khmer Rouge.

I probably should have asked long ago but, maybe like many of my fellow Cambodians, I never dared. The next morning, I woke at 5 in the morning to write a letter. I was writing to the film’s creators: Loung Ung, who wrote the book of her own life story that it is based on; Angelina Jolie; and my dear friend Rithy Panh, the film’s co-producer.

I needed to thank them. The story they shared on screen brought out an untold story in my family. That story and its telling is a gift I will treasure for the rest of my life. It’s the kind of gift that only artists have the power to give.


  1. Fussy video of Guerlain



  3. MON GUERLAIN: The preview of #MonGuerlain, a new fragrance in collaboration with Guerlain Master Perfumer, Thierry Wasser, and Guerlian New Icon, Angelina Jolie, took place today. The fragrance was inspired by the idea of ‘the notes of a woman’ - the emotions, attributes, choices, goals and dreams that embody modern femininity: fearless yet gentle, strong yet delicate, sensual yet loving, free yet inspired by compassion for others. A fragrance in the image of the woman - Angelina Jolie, who inspired it. Available in stores from 1 March 2017.

  4. Angelina Jolie, the symbol of a new era for Guerlain
    Among the 3,000 fragrance brands that exist in the world, Guerlain is undoubtedly the only one that could one day switch to the common lexicon - like Scotch and Escalator in their genre. A guerlain, a perfume ... we are not very far: observe the number of films, songs, novels that place in the bathroom of their heroes bottles of Shalimar, L'Heure Bleue or Habit Red. Beyond our borders, the bee-smells with the bee are more than perfumes  : the quintessence of a French luxury.

    Even the American actress Angelina Jolie says so. The megastar no longer counts the contract proposals that the cosmetics giants have made to her, but it is to the "leader of the perfume industry", in her own words, that she finally agreed to say yes . In a few days, you will see her on a small screen (in the commercial film directed by Terrence Malick) and on glossy paper, spray her skin tattooed with the scent of the latest baby, Mon Guerlain.
    "Our reputation is very strong among the cultural elites especially, and takes the form, in most countries, of an affective relationship transmitted from generation to generation. But the reality is that we remain a rather modest home in size, underlines Laurent Boillot, chairman of the brand in the lap of LVMH. The fact of having associated Angelina Jolie with this project inaugurates a new cycle. The ambition is to plant our flag internationally by deploying our own network of boutiques dedicated exclusively to fragrances, in the big cities of Europe, in Asia - where we are already present with care - then in the United States. "

  5. From Angelina Jolie's jewellers to Cambodia's most exciting haute couture designer, the best boutiques and artisans in Siem Reap
    Managed by British-born jeweller Madeline Green, Ammo sells fine jewellery made from recycled brass ammunition. The symbolism of making beautiful trinkets from neutralised bullets resonates with anyone familiar with Cambodia’s trouble past. The stunt crew from Angelina Jolie’s new film on the Cambodian conflict First They Shot my Father commissioned 10 pendants from Madeline. And to thank the Hollywood star for her work Ammo made Angelina an intricate brass hair pin made from bullets.

    120 Wat Bo Road; +855 96 678 87 31;

    Tailored linen fashion

    NoteKo is a Thai-born fashion designer who set up her stylish shop Onyx within the narrow passages of the Old Market in central Siem Reap. Her carefully chosen collection of homeware, jewellery and linen clothing caught the attention of the new luxury resort Phum Baitang - a country hotel composed of individual villas, all laid out to resemble a traditional Cambodian village complete with rice fields. The hotel, a favourite of Angelina Jolie, asked NoteKo to stock their boutique and the result is a resort retail space that feels like a cross between a curated exhibition and a fashion salon.

    Brad Pitt purchased one of Noteko’s made-to-measure linen shirts during his visit to the hotel and her tailored dressing gowns are popular with female guests. All her linen clothing is made in a small workshop above her market shop where clients come for alterations and to say hello to her talented tailors .

    Boutique and workshop, Onyx , The Passage , Old Market; +855 63 7992

  6. Fussy new Angelina, Pax & Vivian market photos

  7. More shopping photos

  8. Why Angelina Jolie's New Cambodia Movie Matters
    The film is an important addition to a genre that continues to be of interest to the country.

    The Diplomat
    By Luke Hunt
    February 24, 2017

    There has been no shortage of movies made about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. Some, like David Putnam’s The Killing Fields, hit their mark in the 1980s and became a cultural reference point for one of the great tragedies of the 20th century.

    James Gerrand, who produced the documentary Cambodia: The Prince and the Prophecy, is in a similar league to Putnam in defining the brutal regime and its impact on the country.

    Those events were a long time ago, and Cambodia has moved on. But decades after the Khmer Rouge were driven out of Phnom Penh and since the final shots were fired in that long-running civil war, public interest in the subject seems stronger than ever.

    This has been helped by UN-backed efforts to put surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge on trial, maturing post-war baby boomers who are less afraid of asking about this country’s war-time past, and more pragmatic considerations like a substantial drop in the cost of video production.

    The result is a renaissance of sorts in the Khmer Rouge genre, if you will, is underway, with no shortage of producers and directors in search of a script about Pol Pot and the deaths of more than two million people.

    But not every production has been a winner. Far from it.

    New York filmmaker Robert Lieberman produced Angkor Awakens: A Portrait of Cambodia. Sadly, this documentary is a dreadful rerun of almost every cliché written about Cambodia by navel-gazing Americans, and many of them are wrong.

    John Pirozzi did better with Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll, although his public relations machine could do with some cheering up after being criticized for a ham-fisted approach with respect to screenings in Cambodia, particularly the countryside.

    Not so with German film maker Marc Eberle. Last year he released Cambodia Space Project: Not Easy Rock ‘n Roll — a blend of 1960s Cambodian pop and latter day Western rock and shot through the eyes of Khmer diva, Srey Thy – also known as Kak Channthy – who sings 1960s Khmer evergreens along with her own mixes.

    It premiered in Phnom Penh with Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, her then husband the actor Brad Pitt, and James Gerrand in the audience at the Cambodian International Film Festival.

    Eberle’s latest effort, a short documentary about an uprising by Muslim Chams against the Khmer Rouge in late 1975, The Cham Rebellion of Svay Khleang, was terrific.

    It delves into the lives of two students attempting to piece together how more than 1,000 families were slaughtered by Pol Pot’s ultra-Maoists after being stripped of their Islamic identity.

    A River Changes Course from the Khmer-American camera-woman Kaylanee Mam has been received international acclaim.

    Then there was Ian White’s debut as a feature director in Before the Fall about life and love as the Khmer Rouge seized control. And a full-length feature, One Crowded Hour, based on the life of legendary war correspondent Neil Davis is in the advanced stages of pre-production.

    Amid this motley group, Jolie has launched her latest effort, First They Killed My Father, a first-hand account of genocide through a child’s eye. So far, the Hollywood actress turned director is winning fans for this Khmer language film, particularly among Cambodia’s youth.

    An overwhelming majority of people here who are under 30 like Western culture and are enamored by Jolie and her cult-like status as a pop culture icon.

    First They Killed My Father won’t be released on Netflix until September. As such, reviews will be important. So far, Jolie is travelling well, as should be expected in a country where her humanitarian work has not gone unnoticed.

  9. First They Killed My Father: A Cambodian story of ‘talent, art, love and beauty
    The Phonm Penh Post

    24 Feb, 2017
    To understand a story, you need to write it first . . . we are lucky, in Cambodia, we are artists. Writing books, music, and films to express our feelings is good.

    Rithy Panh, or Pou Rithy, as those familiar to the brilliant Cambodian filmmaker call him, pronounced those words at a touching press conference launching the Cambodian Premiere of First They Killed My Father (FTKMF), by Angelina Jolie.

    I’m following Pou Rithy’s advice.

    Over the past couple of weeks, I had the privilege of putting some of my regular duties teaching at Pannasastra University of Cambodia on hold to work closely with Pou Rithy and the dynamic local teams to welcome Angelina Jolie, Ung Loung and their international crew to present FTKMF to a Cambodian audience – months before it will be shown in the US and globally.

    On screening day, we sat in the mystic Angkor grounds, surrounded by temples built hundreds of years ago and symbols of the best Cambodia ever produced; about to watch the worst the country has gone through. Enveloped by humid warmth, the murmur of crickets and soft lights revealing the majestic Elephant Terrace, we watched.

    The screening and premiere event were unique, both because of the setting and because of the people gathered for this special screening: victims of the Khmer Rouge, perhaps even former Khmer Rouge, their children and our friends from home and abroad.

    FTKMF was deeply powerful because it managed to convey the emotions of a complicated story, through the eyes of a child – including the silences and blurred memories of voices and images that shape children’s experience of the world. Memory, happiness and suffering at its simplest. The minimal dialogues and absence of additional plot allows us to focus on the essential.

    Many wept, others smiled and some even laughed. We all remembered.

    To those who lived through the Khmer Rouge, to Pou Rithy, to my parents’ and grandparents’ generation, this film unearths memories. It reopens wounds for some, brings carthasis to many and opens up essential discussions between parents and children – as close family friends and fathers bong Phloeun Prim or bong Sok Visal eloquently wrote in the hours following the screenings.

    I, as a son and grandson of Khmer Rouge regime victims, stand somewhere between the experience of the survivors, and the comforting ignorance of those who did not live through these events. I discovered the burden of the past through my relatives, which provides me with both the desire and luxury of distance to engage with the more positive stories written in Cambodia today, on the ashes of tragedy.

    To those unfamiliar with the stories of Cambodia, the film invites them into the history of the country via its darkest episode. And yet, once they set foot through these doors, those curious enough to watch and listen are led to discover another Cambodia.