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By Phil Hall | March 17, 2014

During the nightmare years of the Khmer Rouge’s rule over Cambodia (1975-1979), an estimated 250,000 young women were forced into marriages as part of a demented policy to aggressively drive up the nation’s population. This documentary, directed by Lida Chan and Guillaume Suon and produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rithy Panh, examines the after-effects of this horrific period through the life of 48-year-old Sochan Pen, who was forced into a Khmer Rouge marriage when she was 16. Sochan’s chosen husband was a violent man who brutally assaulted her.

Sochan managed to escape from him and remained in hiding until the Khmer Rouge was overthrown. Although she would later remarry and have children, the pain of her earlier experience haunted her life, and she admits to relying on tranquilizers to gain sleep. Rather than to continue to suffer in silence, she resolves to file a formal complaint with a national tribunal investigating the Khmer Rouge abuses.

Sochan’s quest to seek some degree of peace with her past is both haunting and invigorating. She speaks of her experiences with a maturity and composure that is inspiring to behold, yet the pain she carried for three decades is often visible when she looks silently at a world that betrayed her.

“Red Wedding” is a work of great emotional and intellectual power, and it is among the finest nonfiction works now in release.

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