By Mike Faloon
The first 40 minutes of Daniel Fox's Cambodia is, essentially, a travelogue of his trip to that nation. What sparked his desire to make such a trip or what he hoped to find there remain mysteries. There are moments of interest (I never knew, for example, that the Khmer Rouge reset the calendar in 1975, making that year zero for their new society), but it's not clear what's on the screen because it's of interest to Fox on a personal level and what's there for the sake of the audience. When Cambodian school children swarmed around Fox and his camera I'm sure it was a memorable experience for him, but, not to be cynical, it doesn't reveal anything to viewers other than the fact that kids the world over love being on camera. The final 20 minutes, wherein Fox visits the harrowing Killing Fields and then interviews survivors, are completely different. Here it's a perfectly clear why we're watching: it's one thing to know about Pol Pot's mass murders, it's quite another to walk through the Killing Fields and see bones and scraps of clothing that have yet to removed. The last third of the film makes Cambodia worthwhile.