Born on Cambodian New Year in a Thai refugee camp, Socheata never knew how she got there. After her birth, the family left the past behind and became American. Her parents hid the story of ... See full summary »
Born on Cambodian New Year in a Thai refugee camp, Socheata never knew how she got there. After her birth, the family left the past behind and became American. Her parents hid the story of surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide. In NEW YEAR BABY, she journeys to Cambodia and discovers the truth about her family. She uncovers their painful secrets kept in shame which also reveal great heroism. Written by
Socheata Poeuv / Charles Vogl
A personal journey into the universal shadows of humanity and the love of family
This film is touching, thoughtful and revealing on multiple levels. Levels perhaps even the producer's did not expect or intend to submerge themselves in.
On a micro-level the narrators journey into the history of her family and her people is one that many in Asian-American (perhaps all communities) communities at some point in their lives wish to venture into with their families and rarely get to glimpse. Pain of war, death, suffering, dehumanization, politics, immigration, separation, change, forgiveness and renewal. Throughout the film her family becomes more and more open and surprisingly candid with their feelings, a rare gift.
On a macro level this film peers into the deep shame and pain a country and humanity can inflict on itself, it peels away layers of the false justifications we can create in the name of idealism, race, class or any other category we might use to degrade or lessen one another. It reveals like other historical tragedies and genocidal incidents that our capability of joining a death machine is much easier and simpler than we think. It reveals the "banality of evil" as Hannah Arendt called it.
It is heroic in that it shows there are ways to find forgiveness within ourselves, to move on and to continue the ceremonies of our lives even if in war we must skip them for the meanwhile. It is heroic in that it shows a depth of love that a privileged society like ours has lost touch with. It is heroic that it was made in the face of surmounting pain and suffering that too many, indeed perhaps in generation or more may forever remain unforgivable.
I would hope there would be a follow up or a continuance of the dialogue and testimony this type of film might spark within the human race....and more importantly in the short term for Cambodians themselves.
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