Several years ago, I began the – as yet, at least – ill-fated journey of watching each of the British Film Institute’s 100 best films of the 20th Century. Starting with The Killing Fields at 100 and working my way to Orson Welles’ The Third Man at number 1. To accompany this, I began writing short posts on my old blog, illustrated by a still from a scene from the movie. I reached 82 before life got in the way. Having found most of these posts on the Wayback Machine, I’m bringing them back. Every so often, I’ll post those that I discovered, and when I’m up to date on the blogging, I’ll start watching again – beginning with where I left off, number 81, Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
At 100 sits the 3-time Oscar winning biographical drama directed by Roland Joffé; The Killing Fields. The film stars the ever-watchable Sam Waterston as journalist Sydney Schanberg, covering the Khmer Rouge regime 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 worked as professional actor. I found the film’s succinct portrayal of the uncertainty and human cost of the civil war, the joy of it coming to an end, and the horror of its aftermath remarkably moving. The Though Mike Oldfield’s soundtrack for the film has not aged well, the Killing Fields is beautifully shot by Chris Menges with exceptional, breathtaking cinematography.