|HAUNTING JOURNEY: Rob Hamill in the notorious former Cambodian prison camp Tuo Sleng as he searches for answers to his brother's death.|
Rodney Times (New Zealand)
Rowing legend Rob Hamill will talk and answer questions at a screening of the documentary Brother Number One at the Matakana Cinemas on Thursday at 5.30pm.
The documentary follows his quest to find out more about the last few weeks of his older brother Kerry's life. The young New Zealander, sailing with two friends, was captured off the Cambodian coast, tortured and murdered at a notorious Khmer Rouge prison camp in Cambodia in 1978.
Rob Hamill talked to survivors of the deadly regime and testified against Comrade Duch, who was commander of the notorious torture centre Tuol Sleng and who ordered his brother's death.
The film, produced and co-edited by Annie Goldson, has won critical acclaim within New Zealand and overseas. It has been described by various New Zealand film critics as "exquisitely restrained" and "haunting, hopeful".
The Western world had largely forgotten the atrocities that happened almost on our doorstep, Mr Hamill says. He is pleased the film is raising awareness of the reign that brought suffering to so many. He hopes it will educate young New Zealanders to understand the political history of the area, viewed as the Asian centre of the "cold war" at that time, to help ensure it doesn't happen again. The deadly regime under leader Pol Pot saw 1.7 million people murdered and more than one million people starve to death.
Cambodia at that time was also the subject of another film – the British drama The Killing Fields released in 1984.
Marathon rowing champion Rob Hamill has been a New Zealand international rowing representative for 16 years. His rowing achievements include world championship silver, Commonwealth gold and a world record on the indoor rowing machine.
Rob represented New Zealand at the Atlanta Olympics and published The Naked Rower on how he and Phil Stubbs captured headlines around the world winning the gruelling and inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race in 41 days. He then led successful defences of the title in 2001 and 2003 and helped the 2005 entry that withdrew after a shark attack and boat capsize.
Visit brothernumberone.co.nz for information.