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Cambodian King To Open Jolie's Film On Khmer Rouge Survivor

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni will preside over the premiere Saturday of Angelina Jolie's film based on a memoir from a Khmer Rouge survivor.

Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and senior government officials will also attend the showing of "First They Killed My Father" at the centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex, a spokesman for the government agency that oversees the archaeological site said Tuesday.

Jolie, who directed the Khmer-language film on location in 2015-16, is also scheduled to attend.

Two free public screens are planned at the site near Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia.

The film is based on Loung Ung's account of her survival as a child under the 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime, believed to be responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians from starvation, disease and execution.

Jolie has had an affinity for Cambodia since she began goodwill work for the U.N.'s refugee agency in 2001, and her eldest son, Maddox, was adopted from the country.

She also has established a foundation to promote social development in rural Cambodia.

King Sihamoni's late father, Norodom Sihanouk, produced, wrote, directed and sometimes even acted in more than two dozen films made when he was in and out of power.

Sihamoni has a deep interest in art and culture, focused on dance, both ballet and classical Cambodian dance.

Long Kosal, the spokesman for Apsara Authority, the agency that oversees the temple complex, said he is pleased that the movie will have its premiere at Angkor Wat.

"As a Khmer Rouge survivor, I am very proud that this movie is to be screened here, as the film will recall how the atrocities and harm caused to the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge regime," he said, explaining that it would be a good lesson to younger generations not to let such a brutal type of regime take power.

Jolie's previous directorial projects include the 2015 marriage drama "By the Sea," in which she starred alongside then-husband Brad Pitt, and the 2014 survival story "Unbroken."


(c) 2017 the Associated Press

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