Angelina Jolie is back in the director’s chair with the first trailer for “First They Killed My Father,” released Wednesday by Netflix.
The film follows one family as they try to survive the Cambodian Khmer Rouge genocide in 1975. The trailer has few words — the actors speak the Khmer language — but shots of children soldiers get the point across.
The film, based on the memoir by Loung Ung, was shot entirely in Cambodia and uses a Cambodian cast.
Jolie has a strong connection with Cambodia: she filmed “Tomb Raider” there, volunteered for the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, and adopted her first son, Maddox, from a Battambang orphanage.
The actress/director was recently criticized for methods used to cast children in the film, as depicted in a recent Vanity Fair feature. The magazine said that Jolie and her casting director “looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship.”
Casting directors are described as having “set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism” in order to find the film’s young lead. “They put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie.”
Jolie responded to the backlash with a statement to the Huffington Post: “I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario.”
“First They Killed My Father” will be available on Netflix September 15. Watch the full trailer above.