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War, Genocide, and JusticeCambodian American Memory Work$
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Cathy J. Schlund-Vials

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670963

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670963.001.0001

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Screening Apology

Screening Apology

Cinematic Culpability in The Killing Fields and New Year Baby

(p.71) Chapter 2 Screening Apology
War, Genocide, and Justice

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter compares Roland Joffé’s Academy Award-winning film The Killing Fields (1984) with Cambodian American Socheata Poeuv’s New Year Baby (2006). The Killing Fields is a master narrative of redemption and liberation that draws on a now-familiar Vietnam War trope of American saviors and Southeast Asian victims, while New Year Baby is an intergenerational story premised on the Khmer Rouge’s policy of forced marriage. Poeuv’s particular emphasis on Democratic Kampuchean biopower foregrounds a deeper consideration of biopolitics and necropolitics. The chapter evaluates the role that apology plays in reconciling the genocidal past, incorporating author Marianne Hirsch’s concept of “postmemory” as a means to explore the impact of parental trauma on children of survivors.

Keywords:   Roland Joffé, The Killing Fields, Socheata Poeuv, New Year Baby, Vietnam War trope, biopolitics, necropolitics, Marianne Hirsch, postmemory, parental trauma

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