The Missing Picture: New York Film Festival 2013

While the rest of the world was disco dancing and geeking out to Star Wars, the nation of Cambodia was plunged into a mid-to-late-’70s...

New York Film Festival 2013: The Missing Picture

While the rest of the world was disco dancing and geeking out to Star Wars, the nation of Cambodia was plunged into a mid-to-late-’70s deathscape of mass starvation and work-camp despair under the Khmer Rouge. Documentary director Rithy Panh was a childhood survivor of this period; he saw his family destroyed and has little evidence to prove their existence. His latest, an unshakable testament to the power of memory, re-creates the period in the unsettling form of kid-friendly dioramas, peopled with clay figures of black-shirted prisoners and sad farm animals. The conceit is tremendously daring, but one with a huge payoff, suggesting an evil that can’t be fully processed by young eyes. Elsewhere, Panh includes crumbling b&w footage of the actual camps, shot by cinematographers who were tortured for their poor exposure. Unmissable. Click for showtimes.—Joshua Rothkopf

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