ATLANTA • Angelina Jolie had bought the book at a street corner for US$2 when she visited Cambodia some 17 years ago.
Over the weekend, the movie adaption of the book about the Khmer Rouge genocide drew a standing ovation when it made its North America premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado in the United States.
The Netflix film - First They Killed My Father: A Daughter Of Cambodia Remembers - dwells on author Loung Ung's life during the turbulent years of the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia in the 1970s, when many people were killed.
In a question-and-answer session after the screening, Vanity Fair quoted Jolie as saying: "I wanted my son to know who his countrymen are."
She adopted her oldest son, Maddox, now 16, from an orphanage in Cambodia in 2002.
Though the film revolves around events in that country, Jolie sees a larger global picture.
"You see a vacuum, a rise in extremism, misinformation... little girls feeling like they're completely left alone," she noted.
"I hope what you see is... how people come through, all the little Loungs out there."
The movie had touched viewers when it was screened in Cambodia in February.
"We ended up at Terrace of the Elephant in Angkor Wat, which is very special to the Cambodian people, screening outside, and it was extraordinary," Jolie recalled.
"It was so moving to see everybody watch. A lot of them said that night that they were able to talk about it for the first time."