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The Missing Picture [Blu-ray]
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"For many years, I have been looking for a missing picture: a photograph taken between 1975 and 1979 by the Khmer Rouge, when they ruled over Cambodia...On its own, of course, an image does not prove mass murder, but it prompts us to think, to meditate, to build history. I searched for it in the archives, in old papers, in the villages of my country, in vain. Now I know: this image must be missing. I was not in fact really looking for it; would the image not be obscene and insignificant? Thus I have made it up. What I offer you today is neither the image nor the search for a unique image, but the image of a quest: the quest that cinema allows." Rithy Panh
The Missing Picture was inspired by the book Rithy Panh co-wrote with Christophe Bataille, The Elimination: A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Confronts his Past and the Commandant of the Killing Fields (Clerkenwell Press, 2013). The film won the highest award of Cannes Un Certain Regard selection.
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When the capital Pnom Penh was emptied - over two million people were uprooted and moved into the countryside. They had every modern thing taken away and were only allowed the clothes on their back - except the shoes and a spoon. The clothes had to be dyed black. They were forced to work in the collectivised camps often doing menial back breaking work that had no real value except to crush the will of the people. The individual as a concept was ended - the party was all that mattered. Death and disease were rampant and this is all told using the clay figures. The Khmer Rouge used to fire slogans at the people all day so that even now Rithy Panh can remember them all verbatim - like `Each being will be a revolutionary or fertiliser for rice'.
There are scenes of animal cruelty here from the archives too as well as humans being mistreated. It can be a difficult watch in places but the narrative is often quite poetic. It is all in French with good subtitles. A very moving and sad account of what this poor man went through and told in an unusual medium. Whilst it may seem to be less immediate because of the little figurines, it still packs quite a punch when you hear what took place in 1975 to 1979 to a country the world seemed to have forgotten about.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An amazing piece of cinema. Relates the horrific time in Cambodia when Pol Pot was subjugating the people and the terrible atrocities. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Smile
A most curious and unusual film.At first I thought I would be unable to watch it but it grew into an interesting film with many facets. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Maggie Guillon
A very good, creative film portraying much of the pain and history of Cambodia and the narrator's life. It was very mesmerizing and beautiful.Published 18 months ago by Evangeline