I first understood the power of the documentary during the editing of my first film, The Quiet Mutiny. In the commentary, I make reference to a chicken, which my crew and I encountered while on patrol with American soldiers in Vietnam.
Bernard Fall, the great French-American writer on the wars in Vietnam, wrote a piece in his Street Without Joy about his early days in Vietnam, during the French war there. One day Fall was in Cambodia doing interviews and research, and afterwards went with a pair of French officers that he’d interviewed to the local club tennis courts, and watched them, in their spotless tennis whites, play a full match of tennis. Early on in their game, a Cambodian NCO came up to the court and attempted to get one of the officers to sign some papers he had. The NCO got a brushoff—the French officers were busy with their game—and so the Cambodian NCO just went off to the sidelines, squatted on his haunches the way Cambodians do, full out in the tropical sun , and waited while the two French officers in their tennis whites batted the ball back and forth. Fall watched, with a feeling of dread coming over him, as the post bugler sounded Last Post, the colors were lowered, the Cambodian standing to attention while the French officers continued playing tennis. Fall wrote:
John Pilger recalls the stricken society he found in Cambodia in 1979 which he described in his epic dispatches and documentary, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia He reminds us that the Pol Pot horror emerged from the bombing ordered by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, and that Cambodia was again “punished” when its liberators came from the wrong side of the cold war and the Thatcher government send special forces to train the Khmer Rouge in exile
This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
John Pilger vividly reveals the brutality and murderous political ambitions of the Pol Pot / Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime which bought genocide and despair to the people of Cambodia while neighboring countries, including Australia, shamefully ignored the immense human suffering and unspeakable crimes that bloodied this once beautiful country.