first they killed my father

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First They Killed My Father

Film poster

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Directed byAngelina Jolie
Screenplay by
  • Loung Ung
  • Angelina Jolie
Based onFirst They Killed My Father
by Loung Ung
Produced by
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Rithy Panh
  • Ted Sarandos
  • Michael Vieira
  • Sreymoch Sareum
  • Kompheak Phoeung
  • Socheata Sveng
  • Dara Heng
  • Kimhak Mun
CinematographyAnthony Dod Mantle
Edited by
  • Xavier Box
  • Patricia Rommel
Music byMarco Beltrami


Jolie Pas

Distributed byNetflix

Release dates

  • February 18, 2017 (Siem Reap)
  • September 15, 2017 (United States)

Running time

136 minutes[3]
  • Cambodia[1][2]
  • United States
  • Khmer[4]
  • English
  • French
  • Vietnamese
Budget$22 million[5]

First They Killed My Father (Khmer: មុនដំបូងខ្មែរក្រហមសម្លាប់ប៉ារបស់ខ្ញុំ, Mŭn Dâmbong Khmêr Krâhâm Sâmloăb Pa Rôbás Khnhŭm; lit.'First The Khmer Rouge Killed My Father') is a 2017 Cambodian–American Khmer-language biographical historical thriller film directed by Angelina Jolie and written by Jolie and Loung Ung. The film is based on Ung's eponymous memoir. Set in 1975, the film depicts 5-year-old Loung, who is forced lớn train as a child soldier while her siblings are sent lớn labor camps during the Khmer Rouge regime.

The film screened at the Telluride Film Festival and 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released worldwide on Netflix on September 15, 2017, lớn positive critical reception.


In 1975 Khmer Republic, Loung Ung is the five-year-old daughter of an officer of the Khmer National Armed Forces, known as "Pa" lớn his seven children. During the Vietnam War, the fighting spills over into neighboring Cambodia when the United States military begins bombing North Vietnamese forces attempting lớn shelter in the neutral territory, commencing the Cambodian Civil War. The U.S. then pulls out of Cambodia and evacuates its embassy.

The Khmer Rouge draws closer and captures Phnom Penh, then forces all families lớn leave the đô thị as refugees, under the pretext that it will be bombed by Americans. Pa Ung denies working for the government when questioned by the Khmer Rouge soldiers, knowing that he will be killed if discovered. The family is found by "Uncle" (Loung's maternal uncle), Pa's brother-in-law, and Loung's family stays with Uncle's family for some time. However, at the insistence of Aunt, who fears the consequences if Pa's identity is discovered, Loung's family has lớn leave.

After days of travel they are captured by Khmer Rouge soldiers and taken with other refugees lớn a labor camp, where they have lớn build their own shelter and are forced lớn work under harsh conditions. Their possessions are confiscated, food is scarce as all crops are sent lớn fighting units, and any attempt lớn get more food is punished with merciless beatings. Loung is a witness lớn her siblings' merciless beatings as they try lớn get more food for themselves and their family.

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Aside from hard work, the camp preaches the regime propaganda, and any foreign items (including life-saving medicine) are forbidden and carry a death penalty. Loung's two oldest brothers and oldest sister Keav are reassigned lớn other camps, and soon afterward Keav dies from dysentery.

One day Loung sees Pa taken away by the Khmer Rouge officials lớn repair a bridge. Knowing what awaits him, he says goodbye lớn his wife and children. Later on, Loung has a nightmare in which she sees him executed and buried in a mass grave. Soon afterward, Ma tells Loung, her older brother Kim, and her older sister Chou lớn flee in different directions and seek new working camps under false identities as orphans. Loung and her sister separate from their brother and reach another camp.

There, Loung is recruited lớn be a child soldier for the Khmer Rouge. The Vietnamese have come lớn rescue Cambodia from Khmer Rouge. Loung learns hand-to-hand combat, shooting, and preparation of traps, and works on laying mine fields against the Vietnamese. Children are constantly taught propaganda and bitter hatred of the Vietnamese, but they get more food and are treated better kêu ca workers in the labor camps. One day Loung gets a pass lớn visit her sister in the labor camp, but instead she travels lớn the camp where her mother and youngest sister were left behind. She finds their hut empty, and an old woman tells her that her family was taken away by the Khmer Rouge soldiers. That night Loung dreams about her mother lying dead in a mass grave with her youngest sister Geak being executed.

Loung's camp is destroyed by Vietnamese shelling, forcing her lớn flee along with other civilians. On the road she reunites with Chou and Kim who stay for a night in a temporary refugee camp managed by Vietnamese troops, where the siblings join a group of children. As the camp is attacked by Khmer Rouge forces the next morning, they slip behind the defending Vietnamese lớn escape the fighting into jungle, where Loung is separated from her siblings and witnesses other refugees killed and maimed by the mines that she herself helped mix.

The three siblings are reunited in another refugee camp that is run rẩy by the Red Cross. There Loung sees people executing a captured Khmer Rouge soldier. She sees him as her father and flashes back lớn the violence in her life. As the war ends, Loung along with her siblings Kim and Chou are reunited with their older brothers who also survived the camps. The movie ends with all the children in present time, praying with the monks for their lost family members in the ruins of a Buddhist temple.


  • Sreymoch Sareum as Young Loung Ung
  • Kompheak Phoeung as Pa Ung
  • Socheta Sveng as Ma
  • Mun Kimhak as Kim
  • Run Malina as Chou
  • Sreyneang Oun as Keav
  • Tep Rindaro as Lon Non
  • Horm Chhora
  • Dy Sonita
  • Loung Ung as herself
  • Tharoth Sam as child soldier leader

The film's cast is almost entirely Cambodian actors and its dialogue is almost entirely in the Khmer language.


On July 23, năm ngoái, it was announced that Angelina Jolie would direct a film adaptation of the memoir First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung for Netflix, for which Jolie and Ung co-wrote the script.[6] Jolie would also produce the film along with Rithy Panh, while Jolie's son Maddox Jolie-Pitt would be an executive producer.[6]


Principal photography on the film began in early November năm ngoái in Siem Reap and wrapped in February năm 2016 in Battambang, Cambodia. Filming also took place in Phnom Penh.[7]

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Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator trang web Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 65 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "First They Killed My Father tackles its subject matter with grace, skill, and empathy, offering a ground-level look at historic atrocities that resonates beyond its story's borders."[8] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]

Matt Zoller Seitz of gave the film four out of four stars, stating that it was Jolie's best work as a director yet, made without any compromise lớn its "journalistic" storytelling. He noted that "[t]he ace in Jolie's deck here is the knowledge that a girl as young as Loung can't comprehend the larger meaning of what's happening lớn her, and is therefore unlikely lớn expend precious emotional energy connecting cause-and-effect dots or lamenting what was lost. It's an almost entirely experiential movie."[10] He later named it the second best film of the year, behind Lucky, stating that it is "[o]ne of the greatest films about war ever made, as well as one of the best films about childhood.... I can't imagine a frame of this film being better, only different."[11]


The film was selected as the Cambodian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 90th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.[12] It was the first time a prominent American director's non-English film was submitted since the Academy mix a rule in 1984 that a country's submission has "artistic control" from a "creative talent of that country"; Jolie has dual citizenship with the U.S. and Cambodia.[13]

See also[edit]

  • List of submissions lớn the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
  • List of Cambodian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film


  1. ^ Debruge, Peter (3 September 2017). "Telluride Film Review: 'First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers'". Variety. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  2. ^ Hunter, Allan (13 September 2017). "'First They Killed My Father': Toronto Review". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  3. ^ Craddock, Kerri (September 2017). "First They Killed My Father". Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  4. ^ Sims, David (15 September 2017). "First They Killed My Father Is a Surprising, Devastating Triumph". The Atlantic. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Angelina Jolie Still Breaks the Rules: Why 'First They Killed My Father' is the Movie No Studio Would Make". 18 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b Patten, Dominic (23 July 2015). "Angelina Jolie To Helm 'First They Killed My Father' As A Netflix Original Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  7. ^ Lew, Josh (9 November 2015). "Angelina Jolie lớn Start Filming in Cambodia's Biggest Tourist Attraction". TravelPulse.
  8. ^ "First They Killed My Father (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  9. ^ "First They Killed My Father reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  10. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (15 September 2017). "First They Killed My Father Movie Review (2017)". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  11. ^ "The Individual Top Tens of 2017". Ebert Digital LLC. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  12. ^ Frater, Patrick (18 September 2017). "Cambodia Sets Angelina Jolie's 'Father' as Oscar Contender". Variety. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  13. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (1 December 2017). "Oscars 2018: Weighing The Early Best Foreign Language Film Race". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2018: All the nominees". BBC News. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  15. ^ "CAMERIMAGE 2017 WINNERS!". Camerimage. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  16. ^ Kilday, Gregg (6 December 2017). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'The Shape of Water' Leads With 14 Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  17. ^ Maglio, Tony (11 December 2017). "Golden Globes 2018: The Complete List of Nominees". The Wrap. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  18. ^ Hammond, Pete (5 November 2017). "Hollywood Film Awards Steers Away From Scandal And Keeps Its Eye On The Prizes To Winslet, Gyllenhaal, Oldman And More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  19. ^ "2017 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  20. ^ Staff (28 December 2017). "Get Out Wins Big at Online Film Critics Society Awards". Den of Geek. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  21. ^ Pond, Steve (29 November 2017). "'Dunkirk,' 'The Shape of Water' Lead Satellite Award Nominations". The Wrap. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  22. ^ "Women's Image Network announces its 19th Women's Image Awards Film and Television Nominees". Women's Image Network. 10 November 2017. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.

External links[edit]