The Missing Picture
Time Out says
Rithy Panh was 13 when the Khmer Rouge turned Cambodia into a murderous experiment in pitilessly pure ideology. He watched as his family starved to death in the rural work camps where dictator Pol Pot sent the middle-class for re-education. In the wake of such unimaginable suffering, many would be consumed with bitterness or blank out the past. Yet Panh, knowing that the only visual record of that era is the Khmer’s propaganda films, decided to construct his own celluloid act of remembrance. He recreates the nightmare using a cast of hand-painted clay models. The effect is talismanic: overlaid by a thoughtful voiceover, it invites the audience to share the pain in a cathartic act of imaginative reclamation. This is sharply contrasted against chilling ‘official’ Khmer footage. What emerges isn’t just another arthouse film, but a powerful testament to incredible human resilience, movingly suffused by faith in the power of art to vanquish fathomless wickedness.