Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Enemies Of The People

Hardly the most entertaining or visually captivating documentary ever made (low key would be one way to describe it), Enemies Of The People is one of the most enthralling documentaries I have ever seen. The subject matter is horrific, mind alteringly so! Interviews with mass murderers- including the man who orchestrated their rampage.

Nuon Chea was Brother #2 under the infamous Pol Pot, the very man responsible for carrying out the order to kill. The other two protagonists are two of the actual killers themselves- killers who, more than a little surprisingly, want to confess their tales for prosperity's sake. Killers who by their own admission "killed hundreds, if not thousands." These are not the crazed, wild eyed, maniacal killers of suspense thrillers, or even the quietly calculating killers one one might imagine or suspect. In fact, they appear the most humble and modest of men- simple farmers who had the choice of kill, or be killed. And kill they did, as one put it, "My hands hurt from slitting so many throats, so I started stabbing them." A female officer responsible for seeing those orders carried out recalled that the waters of the rice paddies bubbled "as if boiling" from all the decomposing bodies underneath.

But this is also a story of redemption as the two farmer/killers try to convince others forced into killing to also recount their stories. It is also a movie within a movie as one director (Rob Lemkin) follows and films Thet Sambath conducting and filming the interviews of his fellow Cambodians- the fellow countrymen responsible for killing his very family members. His persistence and restraint is nothing short of super human, resulting in the admissions and revelations that make one ponder, and ponder anew this thing called life.

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