It is a time to celebrate lives, but also to reflect on the many people who lost theirs amidst tremendous suffering just a few decades ago. The Cambodian genocide was not just an assault on the Khmer people, but also on their way of life.
Directed by Beth Pielert. In English and Khmer with English subtitles. Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge, genocide, peace and reconciliation, Asian American Studies, human rights When I teach about the Khmer Rouge regime and its aftermath, something I have been doing for many years at the university level, I always assign first-person narratives as the primary reading material, both because I want to provide students with Khmer voices and because the individual stories are so powerful.
Students can hardly believe that the stories are true; most of them have never even heard of the Cambodian genocide.
Thida Mam's narrative, co-authored with JoAn D. Her second book, also with Criddle, Bamboo and Butterflies, tells of the family's adjustment to life as refugees in the US.
This film, Out of the Poison Tree, by filmmaker Beth Pielert, is the next step in this saga, the story of Thida and her sisters' return to Cambodia to find out what happened to their father, Buth Choun.
They know that he was likely killed during the evacuation of Phnom Penh, when tens of thousands of others who were associated with the old regime were massacred, but they are not sure of the circumstances surrounding his death. The film is thus part of a particular genre of films on the Asian American experience that focus on cycles of return to the home country another excellent film in this genre is New Year Baby about a young Khmer American woman who travels back to Cambodia with her parents.
Out of the Poison Tree provides some historical background about the period, using interesting footage of the war years; but it is primarily a contemporary story as Thida and others of her generation seek to understand what happened thirty years ago?
These include, in addition to Thida: By interweaving the story of Thida and her sisters with those of other survivors, the filmmaker does not allow us to simply wish for vengeance. Aki Ra, the deminer, tells us that he knows the people who killed his parents, but if he killed them, their children would seek vengeance on him, and his son on them, in an unending spiral of violence.
Instead he demines, teaches others of the dangers of mines, and helps boys who have lost limbs to landmines, allowing them live with him while they go to school. The Khmer Rouge who raised him are still his friends, the only family that he ever knew.
Arun Sothea, the orphan who runs an orphanage, says that after surviving the horrors of living imprisoned and seeing scenes of death all around, one must devote one's life to giving something back to society.
The orphans he is raising now are not available for international adoption; he says that they too must give back to Cambodian society. But the most powerful dialogue in the film is with Youk Chhang, the director of DCCAM, the Documentation Center which gathers and preserves documents on the Cambodian genocide as evidence for the tribunal, but also so that the world will understand what happened in Cambodia.
Chhang says that if Cambodians had learned about the Holocaust they might have tried to prevent what happened in their country. It can happen anywhere he tells us, in East Timor, in Burma I am the judge.
I am the victim. Here is the key message of the film: In the end, Thida and her sisters find the nightmare that they came seeking and learn the painful truth about what likely happened to their father.
There is no easy resolution to the task they embarked on. But the movie provides an excellent exploration of the complexities of living with the legacy of the Khmer Rouge years.
NEW YEAR BABY is an inspirational feature documentary about one Cambodian American family that comes to peace with their past of surviving the Killing Fields. Director Socheata Poeuv uncovers her own family’s secret history. On Christmas Day, Socheata’s parents called a family meeting to reveal a secret they had been hiding for . New Year Baby by Socheata Poeuv. University of Toronto; Search for more papers by this author. First published: 21 May Full publication history; DOI: /jx View/save citation; Check for new citations ; Citing literature ; No abstract is available for this article. Continue reading full article. New Year Baby by Socheata Poeuv Essay example - Mourning and Melancholia After a tragic loss someone will go through a grieving process that will either be constructive or destructive. Mourning is a period of time when the person experiencing this loss begins to search for reconciliation and a way to deal with the sadness.
The cinematography is beautiful and the shots around the country provide a sweeping canvas on which to paint the story. The drawback to the version of the film is that it is already dated.
When it was made, the tribunal had not yet begun and Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, and Nuon Chea had not yet been arrested.
Now these three and two others are in jail awaiting trial. Beth Pielert plans to update the film with new information on the tribunal as it proceeds. Students could conduct on-line research on the latest status of the tribunal as part of the lesson plan for this unit, using the DCCAM website www.
The latter includes video clips of the proceedings. I recommend the movie for teaching high school and university courses, in combination with the Criddle and Mam books, excerpted or in whole. Using them together allows students to get to know individuals and follow them through the story, and then 'meet' them in the film.
Be sure to watch the film all the way through the epilogue, which includes music by Khmer rapper PraCh Ly. Students presented with the details of the Cambodian story often want to do something to help; teachers can organize fund raising projects to donate to these organizations.Through the telling of a personal narrative, the documentary film, New Year Baby, exposes this attempt to dissolve the family.
Socheata Poeuv tells the story of uncovering her family’s past from the Cambodian genocide. New Year Baby by Socheata Poeuv - Mourning and Melancholia After a tragic loss someone will go through a grieving process that will either be constructive or destructive.
Mourning is a period of time when the person experiencing this loss begins to search for reconciliation and a way to deal with the sadness.
Feb 26, · Socheata Poeuv's award-winning documentary. Born on the Cambodian New Year in a refugee camp, Socheata grew up in . NEW YEAR BABY Socheata Poeuv is both the director and subject of New Year Baby. She is also Founder and Executive director of Khmer Legacies, a c3 non-profit organization that documents stories of the Cambodian genocide one survivor at a time by having the younger generation interview the older generation.
New Year Baby by Socheata Poeuv Essay example. New Year Baby by Socheata Poeuv Essay example. Length: words ( double-spaced pages) Rating: Strong Essays.
Open Document. Essay Preview. Mourning and Melancholia After a tragic loss someone will go through a grieving process that will either be constructive or destructive.
Mourning is a. War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work, by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials (review) Juliana Chang Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American projects like Socheata Poeuv’s New Year Baby, which acknowledges and.