Bare Hands and Wooden Limbs is the story of a group of landmine survivors who decide to create a farming village of their own in Cambodia.
This film is a testament to what an impossible friendship and cooperation between a former Khmer Rouge commander and a former Khmer Rouge victim can accomplish. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world. The scars of two decades of civil war can still be seen and felt on the Cambodian economy, culture and social order, especially in rural areas.
Around the world, landmines claim 26,000 new victims a year - that's 71 people every day. Already over a quarter of a million people have fallen victim to the more than 100 million landmines in 64 countries, a number that continues to grow. These landmines are installed during wartime, but usually attack their victims years later, after the conflict they were set for is long over.
Nowhere is this truer than in Cambodia, where 35 percent more land could be cultivated if it weren't polluted with landmines. Victims from landmines often die and leave behind their dependents. Those who survive are disabled, a condition that guarantees a lifetime of ostracism and extreme impoverishment in a country where half the population already lives below the poverty level.
Most amputees end up as beggars, but hundreds of them, along with their families, have rejected this path and banded together in the village of Veal Thom, 60 miles NW of Phnom Penh, to improve their lives as a group in ways that they could not have done on their own. Without support they are coping with a dearth of resources, including a lack of clean water, and have set about building a school and running cooperative farms. This film tells their story.