Angelina Jolie gave fans a first look at her upcoming Netflix film and longtime passion project, First They Killed My Father, in a recently released promo video.
The movie, which is based on Cambodian human rights activist Loung Ung‘s 2000 memoir of the same name, tells the story of the devastation inflicted on Cambodia in the 1970s after the Khmer Rouge communist party killed more than two million people, including Ung’s parents and two sisters.
“The heart of it is Loung’s story,” Jolie, 41, who directed the film, says in the clip. “It’s the story of a war through the eyes of a child, but it is also the story of a country.”
To construct an accurate portrait of the genocide and war, Jolie used only Cambodian actors who speak their native language, Khmer. She gathered hundreds of survivors and their children to recreate their stories.
“It’s the first time there’s something of this size about this war in this country,” the Maleficent actress explains in the promo. “I feel like nobody is here for themselves, and anybody who’s here to do any job is here to put something forward and help their country speak. We set the stage and we explain, like we did with this very difficult scene where we had to capture the Khmer Rouge and beat him. We found people who had either themselves suffered or a new suffering and they came with their own story and their own feelings, their own desire, and we gave them parameters, but we let them do it.”
Jolie famously filmed her 2000 movie Tomb Raider in Cambodia. She later returned as a volunteer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and is now a special envoy for the program. In 2002, she adopted her first child, Maddox, now 15, from an orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia.
“For the country, what Angie is doing is an amazing gift,” Ung, 46, says in the promo.
The Oscar winner also spoke out about refugees in an op-ed published in The New York Times on Thursday, February 2. Criticizing President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, she wrote, “Refugees are men, women and children caught in the fury of war, or the cross hairs of persecution. Far from being terrorists, they are often the victims of terrorism themselves.”
First They Killed My Father is set to premiere in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on February 18 and will be released on Netflix later this year.
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