Tonight, I began, what will probably eventually become known as, the ill-fated journey of watching each of the British Film Institute’s 100 best films of the 20th Century. Starting at 100 and working my way to Orson Welles’ The Third Man at number 1. I’ll try to keep these blogs relatively spoiler free and I’ll consider them only a small record of moving through this series.
At 100 sits a film by Roland Joffé that won 3 Oscars in 1985; The Killing Fields. The film stars the excellent Sam Waterston – most recently to be found in HBO’s The Newsroom – as journalist Sydney Schanberg, covering the civil war in Cambodia; and beside him is Dr. Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran, a Cambodian Journalist and translator. Ngor, himself, had lived under the Khmer Rouge regime and prior to this film had never acted professionally. I found the film particularly moving as it succinctly showed the uncertainty and human cost of the civil war, the joy of it coming to an end, and the horror of its aftermath. It’s a beautifully shot film but it has to be said, Mike Oldfield’s soundtrack has dated noticeably.