Saturday, June 14, 2008

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival 2008: The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)

“I run between what I remember and what I’ve forgotten,” Thavisouk Phrasavath says in his and acclaimed cinematographer Ellen Kuras’ co-directed debut feature “The Betrayal (Nerakhoon),” which follows Thavisouk (Thavi for short) and his family’s series of betrayals, first at the hands of the U.S. government in Laos and then from within the family itself once he, his mother, and siblings reach American shores. A labor of love over twenty years in the making, the doc combines rich, elegiac images of the Laotians and their land, meditative music, prophetic folk wisdom told in voiceover, footage from the Vietnam era (from utter devastation to empty presidential speeches), Thavi as a teenage long-hair in Brooklyn, wayward youth framed metaphorically against a backdrop of moving trains—all stitched together like a patchwork quilt, like shards of a dream.

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door.

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