The Killing Fields (1984)
Documentary filmmaker Roland Joffe's debut as a feature director is a highly charged, emotionally challenging and incredibly observant rendering of the events and conditions in post-war Khmer Rouge-controlled Cambodia. Based on an article written by New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg, the film is seen through the eyes of an American, but politically and historically The Killing Fields is an impartial and openminded film. Joffe is interested in human beings rather than high-profile events, but he still manages to be detailed and realistic when it comes to political intrigue and post-war horrors. Being based on a true story isn't necessarily a certification of a truthful narrative, but Bruce Robinson's script isn't ironed into the Hollywood formula; it gives its characters lives of their own, and thus makes The Killing Fields both a beautiful and agonizing story of love, terror and the strength and goodness of humans, across boundaries.