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Enemies of the People

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More than simply an inquiry into Cambodia’s experience, however, ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE is a profound meditation on the nature of good and evil, shedding light on the capacity of some people to do terrible things and for others to forgive them.
It is also a personal journey into the heart of darkness by journalist/filmmaker Thet Sambath, whose family was wiped out in the Killing Fields, but whose patience and discipline elicits unprecedented on-camera confessions from perpetrators at all levels of the Khmer Rouge hierarchy.

Running Time: 59/82 min.
Subject(s): Asian Studies, Conflicts, Crime, Current Affairs, Genocide, History, Human Rights, Politics, War
Language(s): English, Khmer
Subtitles: English
Director(s):
Producer(s): Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath
Cinematographer: Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath
Editor(s): Stefan Ronowicz
Production Company: Old Street Films

Press

  • POPMATTERS.COM
    “9 stars out of 10. Astonishing. Doesn’t pretend to deliver a final or even a stable truth, a set of indisputable facts. Instead, it shows the truth of the process, efforts to be honest, to confront horrors, to remember and to forgive.”
    Cynthia Fuchs
  • THIS WEEK IN NEW YORK
    “Compelling. Eye-opening. Sambath risks everything to seek out the truth.”
    Mark Rifkin
  • FILMCRITIC.COM
    “This limpid, haunting, and generous film stands not so much as a damning accusation but as a striking testimonial to the implacable will of the Cambodian people.”
    Chris Barsanti
  • “Truly Newsworthy. Highly significant. Succeeds spectacularly. Thoughtful and legitimately bold.”
    J.B. Spins
  • NYC MOVIE GURU
    “Provocative, unflinchingly honest, harrowing and unforgettable. It’s among the most powerful and important documentaries of the year. It’s a miraculous testament to co-directors Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin’s skills as investigative journalists that they were able to earn the trust of these Khmer Rouge members so that they’d be willing to talk so openly and candidly about the horrors of the genocide right in front of the camera without resorting to euphemisms. Enemies of the People is provocative, unflinchingly honest, harrowing and unforgettable. It’s among the most powerful and important documentaries of the year.”
    Avi Offer
  • LA WEEKLY
    “Astonishing. An extraordinary historical testimonial.”
    Andrew Shenker
  • FILM-FORWARD.COM
    “More than a stunning expose… A powerful personal quest, the first film to show living perpetrators of genocide from the highest policymaker down through the administrator and the lowest killer.”
    Nora Lee Mandel
  • NYC TIME OUT
    “Stares into the face of evil without resorting to anger or judgment.”
    Eric Hyne
  • SLANT MAGAZINE
    “This is an extraordinary historical document, an archive of confessions with potential for closure, atonement, and belated punishment from one single man on a mission. Incredible.”
    Diego Costa
  • ABOUT.COM
    "Enemies of The People will move you to tears, and to contemplate human nature.”
    Jenifer Merin
  • EPOCH TIMES
    “Riveting and Revealing.”
    Diana Hubert
  • CINEMATICAL
    “Powerful. See it, and just try to imagine yourself in Sambath's shoes as he sits there next to or opposite the men responsible for the deaths of his parents and millions of others.”
    Christopher Campbell
  • BBC RADIO
    “One of the most gripping and moving films I have ever seen. Stunning. Amazing.”
    Andrew Marr
  • VARIETY
    “Chilling.”
    Leslie Felperin
  • FINANCIAL TIMES
    “Poignant. Forceful. Harrowing.”
    Nigel Andrews
  • TORONTO STAR
    “Quietly devastating.”
  • SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
    “Heart-wrenching and shocking. This heart-wrenching documentary presents shocking unprecedented testimony straight from the mouths of killers, and begins to answer how such a tragedy could have happened. Compelling.”
    Dave D’Arcy
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES
    “An inspiring film. Liberating. A testament to one man’s persistent search for the truth.”
    Stephen Holden
  • VILLAGE VOICE
    "Art proves a piercing vehicle for exposing wrongs and demanding rights in Thet Sambath's Enemies of the People. Having lost his family to Cambodia's Killing Fields in the late '70s, Sambath, a journalist by day, spent the past decade pointing his camera at those responsible for the atrocities, eventually befriending and coaxing admissions of treachery from rural killers as well as Pol Pot's right-hand man, Nuon Chea. His documentary is a dogged quest for truth that epitomizes HRW, just as Chea's cold, obstinate refusal to assume moral guilt for his crimes reveals the continuing need for the human rights struggle and, by extension, for this righteously angry fest."
    Nick Schrager

Festival Participation

  • Sundance Film Festival, USA - 2010
    Jury Special Prize for Best World Documentary
  • True/False Film Festival, USA - 2010
    True Life Award
  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival, USA - 2010
    Social Justice Award
  • Vera International Film Festival, Finland - 2010
    Best Documentary Award
  • One World Film Festival, Czech Republic - 2010
    Grand Jury Prize
  • Full Frame Film Festival, USA - 2010
    Anne Dellinger Grand Jury Award
  • Hong Kong International Film Festival - 2010
    Outstanding Documentary Award
  • Beldocs Film Festival, Serba - 2010
    Best Documentary Award
  • OxDocs Festival, UK - 2010
    Best Documentary Award
  • Norwegian International Documentary Festival - 2010
    Best Documentary Award
  • New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival, USA - 2010
    Nestor Almendros Award
  • Krakow International Film Festival, Poland - 2010
    Silver Horn Award
  • British Indepedent Film Awards, UK - 2010
    Best Documentary Award

  • 2012 Emmy Award for Investigative Journalism Long-Form

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