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Code: 5116
A film by Ellen Kuras

USA / 96 minutes / 1.85:1 (16/9) / English Dolby Digital 5.1


    Filmed over 23 years, The Betrayal is the directorial debut of renowned cinematographer Ellen Kuras in a remarkable collaboration with the film's subject and co-director Thavisouk Phrasavath. During the Vietnam War, the United States government waged its own secret war in the neighboring country of Laos. When the U.S. withdrew, thousands of Laotians who fought alongside American forces were left behind to face imprisonment or execution. One family, the Phrasavaths, made the courageous decision to escape to America. Hoping to find safety, they discovered a different kind of war.

    Epic in scope yet devastatingly intimate, featuring an exquisite score by Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore, The Betrayal is a testament to the resilient bonds of family and an astonishing tale of survival.

    Special Features

    ·Audio Commentary by Director Ellen Kuras and Executive Producer Cara Mertes
    ·Q&A Interview with Director Ellen Kuras & co-Director Thavisouk Phrasavath
    ·Conversation with Director Ellen Kuras and Composer Howard Shore
    ·Archival Footage and Selected Newsreels
    ·Additional Montage Footage of Laos
    ·Excerpts of Thavisouk's First Interview (1986)
    ·Omitted Scene
    ·Filmmakers Biographies
    ·Thavisouk Returns To Laos
    ·Theatrical Trailer
    ·Photo Gallery
    ·The Betrayal, an essay by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus

    Film Reviews

    "The subjects addressed in The Betrayal could hardly be more enormous: war, revolution, the abandonment of a nation and the scattering of its citizens. But the film, though it includes old news clips of the war in Laos and of American presidents discussing that country's fate, is distinguished by an intimate mood and a lyrical tone. It is quiet, contemplative and impressionistic, which makes the story it has to tell all the more powerful."
    —A.O. Scott, The New York Times

    "Lyrical, expansive, unbearably beautiful."
    — David Edelstein, New York Magazine

    "A moving, lyrical, 23-years-in-the-making epic. Packs an emotional wallop."
    — David Ansen, Newsweek

    Editor's Choice     "A moving triumph of non-fiction filmmaking. A haunting, powerful documentary, this is highly recommended."
    Video Librarian

    "Exquisitely beautiful and emotionally compelling."
    — Kenneth Turan, LA Times

    "Stunning. Life-affirming in the best possible way."
    Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle

    "Resolutely gripping! Brings an affecting personal dimension to a sprawling sociopolitical narrative, intimately detailing how the agendas designed to advance the interests of nations can destroy individual lives."
    — Scott Foundas, Variety

    "A shimmering, absorbing experience that's both specific and general, both concrete and abstract. It's about one Laotian family in Brooklyn and about almost every immigrant family everywhere in the country, about the allure of America and its often ugly reality."
    — Andrew O'Hehir,

    "A powerful documentary. Ellen Kuras documents one man's — and one nation's — tragedy."
    — Melissa Anderson, Time Out New York

    "The Betrayal is a powerful work of anthropology."
    — David D'Arcy, Screen Daily

    "An almost sinfully beautiful movie about ugly global realities. A rare new documentary that really belongs on the big screen."
    Dennis Harvey, SF Bay Guardian

    "An extraordinary story. Exquisitely shot and remarkably beautiful."
    — Martin Tsai, The New York Sun

    "The Betrayal is refined, even delicate, filmmaking... A haunting flashback to the lush green and fiery orange phantasmagoria of wartime Indochina. Impressionistic and lyrical, as well as somber and gripping, The Betrayal conveys a ceaseless flow. It's as if the filmmaker has opened a window onto a parallel world traveling beside our own."
    — J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

    "Highly recommended for both public and academic collections. Deeply moving, inspiring yet at times heart wrenching. A skillful blend of archival footage, still images, pastoral scenes and cinéma verité, enhanced with Howard Shore's exquisitely lyrical, haunting musical score, it is an extraordinary journey into the life and soul of a family."
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    "A thoughtfully crafted feat of storytelling. Touches the heart."
    — Mina Hochberg, AM-NY

    "A tale of this magnitude has to be told."
    — Matthew Nestel, Box Office Magazine