Nerakhoon (The Betrayal) (2008) is a documentary film about Laos and a Laotian family living in the US; it is directed by Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath. Nerakhoon is a Lao word for betray.
Thavisouk’s name sounds so familiar to me, [edited] it is confirmed by my sister that he is the same person that I knew in Brooklyn, NY as I had suspected but we all knew him as Souk; I lived there for over 6 years back in the 80s. There were very few Laotian families living in Brooklyn during that time, and he came to the US after us. We were sponsored by the same Chinese Christian Church (I believed) that ripped us off, and we used to live at the same apartment building, him one door down from us.
I think this film is something that we all can relate to, especially for me since it takes place in my old neighborhood, I’m curious to see what angle the film will portray because I knew how bad it was for me growing up in Brooklyn. This might be a painful journey into the past for many of us, and definitely something worth checking out.
- Nerakhoon Prodcast from WNYC New York Public Radio
Underreported: The Legacy of the War in Laos
During the Vietnam War, the CIA used Laos to launch secret operations, which in turn led to mass bombings and destruction there. And after the 1975 Communist takeover, hundreds of thousands of Laotians who had aided the Americans had to flee the country for fear of retribution. On today’s first Underreported, we find out what has happened to those who left. Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath are director and co-director of the documentary film “Nerakhoon,” about Thavisouk’s long and difficult journey from war-torn Laos to Brooklyn. Source
The film is already set to show on PBS in the US 2008/2009, check your local listing.
From BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music web site:
Nerakhoun, a documentary work-in-progress, explores artist, poet, and filmmaker Thavisouk Phrasavath’s 20-year journey from his life in war-torn Laos to an urban America that has tested both his past beliefs and future hopes.
During the Vietnam War, the CIA used Laos to launch secret operations, leading to mass bombings and destruction in the country. When the US abandoned Laos and the Royal Army it had backed—including Thavi’s father, a respected officer— Thavi’s life descended into turmoil. Since being reunited with his family in Brooklyn, he and his mother have had to face the meaning of betrayal—between countries, between husband and wife, and between father and son—as they struggle to survive in exile.
Followed by: A Filmmaker’s Journey
First funded by the Sundance Documentary Fund in 1997, Nerakhoun returned to the Documentary Film Composer’s Lab in 2006 for an intensive immersion into the film’s themes and its score. Following this screening, filmmakers Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath will share their phenomenal journey and the life-changing process they undertook with this extraordinary film, now almost completed and 20 years in the making.
The Sundance Documentary Program offers project funding and year-round support for contemporary-issue documentary filmmakers globally. Source.