Tag Archives: S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine

The Red Sense

The Red Sense is a terrific examination of the ongoing impact on both the victims and perpetrators of the genocide carried out in Cambodia during the short but bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that it was made not in Cambodia, but in Melbourne, Australia.

Another is the genre in which director and co-writer Tim Pek chose to examine the sensitive issues concerned, a classic Asian ghost story fused with elements of a thriller.

The story is told through the lens of a young Khmer woman, Melear, who discovers the Khmer Rouge commander responsible for the death of her father is alive and living in Melbourne.

Melear is obsessed by her father’s death, spending her days searching for information about his fate and her nights dreaming about him.┬áThe opening scene is her recurring nightmare, set in the northwest of Cambodia in 1975. Two men, one of them Melear’s father, kneel in front of a freshly dug grave before being bludgeoned to death by Khmer Rouge soldiers commanded by a tall, bearded man.

In another house in Melbourne, the Khmer Rouge commander responsible for the death of Melear’s father sits listlessly on a sofa. It is the Pchum Ben festival, a time when the Khmer believe that the spirits of the dead walk the earth and the living ease their suffering by offering them food to eat.… Read more