Loung Ung (Sareum Srey Moch) was only five years old then Cambodia was taken over by the Khamer Rouge regime, and she was kidnapped and turned into a child soldier. At this fragile age, Ung saw and lived in hunger, brutality and death all the way, and then she had to learn things that no child should do: things like land mining, pulling AK-47 or how to kill the dead people.
Before these tragedies took place, she was living a relatively peaceful life with her bourgeois family headed by a police officer in the country’s capital. Things changed when the Americans began to intervene in their war with Vietnam, and their constant bombing resulted in the creation of a vacuum of power in the country, a void that could not remain so always and was immediately filled with people opportunistic and extremely brutal.
The Khamer Rouge regime, led by the future dictator Pol Pot, takes over power in the country and buzzes in the capital to finally destroy the last remnants of the country’s weakened official government and initiate a “purification” that has the lives of millions of people. Loung’s father learns what’s going on and tries to lead her, her brothers and mother out of town. But things do not even meet expectations, and the brutal mercenaries of the totalitarian regime manage to capture them, sending her brothers to labor camps, and forcing her to become a child soldier and to participate in military operations.