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Wednesday, 28th October 2015

Angelina Jolie has a special bond with Cambodia through her son

Angelina Jolie has just returned from Cambodia, where she has been working on an upcoming film project. The Hollywood actress took her son Maddox with her to the country, as this is where he was born. Jolie adopted Maddox when he was seven months old and despite growing up in the US, she is keen he retains ties with Cambodia and understands the culture he comes from.

She said of the 14-year-old: "This is a very important time for him to understand who he is. He is my son but he is also a son of Cambodia. This is the time for our family to understand all that that means to him and to us.”

Jolie’s latest project is a film version of the memoir First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, which she will jointly direct with Cambodian Rithy Pang. The original book was published in 2000 and tells the story of author Loung Ung, who survived the Pol Pot regime.

Of the film, Jolie said: “My desire to tell this story in the most truthful and accurate way possible will be my tribute to the strength and dignity of all Cambodian people. Maddox will be on set every day after school and involved behind the scenes.”

In order to ensure her son had close ties with Cambodia, Jolie set up the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation to work with important causes in the country. While she oversees its operations at present, she has said that Maddox will take over that role as he gets older.

The Cambodia government granted Jolie Cambodia citizenship in 2005 in recognition of the work she has done in the country. This has involved both environmental projects and collaborations with social improvement organisations.

While in Cambodia, Jolie met with prime minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, highlighting how she balances all of her interests at once. This trip, for example, merged her film career, politics and her family.

She was also spotted shopping at the Old Market in Siem Reap with her family, as well as riding in a tuk tuk. Scouting out destinations in which to film has been a particular aim of this trip to Cambodia and meant travelling throughout the country and experiencing much of its landscapes and scenery.

The film version of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers will be released on Netflix in late 2016.

Related news stories:
5 things you didn't know about Cambodia (12th July 2016)
Six books you should read before travelling to Cambodia (5th November 2015)
Enrich your stay in Cambodia through charitable ventures! (20th November 2014)
Understanding religious practices in Cambodia (9th July 2014)
Cambodia's Healing Fields (24th June 2014)