The film follows New Zealand Olympian Rob Hamill as he travels to Cambodia in 2009 to testify before a War Crimes Tribunal. His eldest brother, Kerry, disappeared on a sailing trip and was tortured and murdered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, along with his two mates, in 1978.
While sailing from Australia to Southeast Asia, the three men unintentionally entered Cambodian waters, and were apprehended by a Khmer Rouge cell. One sailor, Canadian Stuart Glass, was shot and killed immediately, while Kerry and Englishman John Dewhirst were seized and taken to the infamous S-21 prison in Phnom Penh. There they were held and tortured for several months, and eventually killed.
Thirty years later, Kerry’s youngest brother Rob has a rare opportunity to seek justice by taking the stand as a witness at the Cambodia War Crimes Tribunal. He testifies against Comrade Duch, Pol Pot’s chief executioner and the man who gave the final orders for Kerry, and some 15,000 more, to be tortured and killed.
As Rob treks to Cambodia to retrace his brother’s last days, he meets a host of survivors who tell their stories of the S-21 prison and the killing fields, detailing the trauma that countless families across Cambodia experienced under the cruel regime of the Khmer Rouge.
An Official Selection at the 2011 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and 2011 New Zealand International Film Festival, the film explores one of history’s most “forgotten” genocides, examining how and why nearly 2 million Cambodians were tortured and killed by the fanatical Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979.
Brother Number One (BNO Productions, 99mins)
March 25, 4pm
Curzon Soho, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5DY
Tube: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus
March 26, 6.30pm
Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, SW2 1JG
Filmmaker Annie Goldson and film subject Rob Hamill will lead discussions following both screenings.
Image via Brother Number One