In the terms of the Pran-Schandberg relationship in The Killing Fields, what do you think ‘friendship’ REALLY means?”
“The Killing Fields” (1984) directed by Roland Joffe is THE most haunting and emotional film I have ever seen. Basically, it tells the story of love, friendship and loyalty between New York Times correspondent in Cambodia, Sydney Schanberg and his Cambodian translator and guide, Dith Pran, in the face of an uncertain future and in the midst of horrible violence, during, and after the takeover of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge. The performance of the two actors, Sam Waterston as the protagonist Schanberg, and doctor-survivor-actor Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran, are incredible in their verisimilitude. Sam Waterston is at his self-righteous best, while Ngor delivers a riveting and emotionally wrenching performance. Friendship, to quote Dr. Sadler (“The Mind at Mischief”, page 64), “is the first and basic human conviction. It is more than emotion, it is greater than impulse, it transcends a sentiment.” Aristotle defines it as: ““Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” The friendship that develops between Schanberg and Pran goes from strength to strength amid scenes of high emotion, tension, drama and horror. The background is tragically and graphically conveyed; the magnitude of the brutality of the Khmer Rouge is perfectly captured; this regime, probably one of the most vicious and barbaric regimes ever to grace this planet, led by the tyrant Pol Pot and his hordes, in a bloody “Year Zero” ethnic cleansing campaign, exterminated nearly 40% of Cambodia’s population numbering around 2 million “undesirable civilians”.