The Missing Picture
“For many years, I have been looking for the 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 cannot prove mass murder, but it gives us cause for thought, prompts us to meditate, to record History. I searched for it vainly in the archives, in old papers, in the country villages of Cambodia…
Today I know: this image must be missing. I was not really looking for it; would it not be obscene and insignificant? So I created it. What I give you today is neither the picture nor the search for a unique image, but the picture of a quest: the quest that cinema allows.” Rithy Panh
Director Rithy Panh (S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine) won the Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for this startlingly original work, which uses handmade clay figurines and detailed dioramas to recount the ravages that Pol Pot’s regime visited upon the people of Cambodia following the communist victory in 1975.
With The Missing Picture, Panh offers his most autobiographical and eerily beautiful film on the subject, this time exploring the suffering his own family endured after the Khmer Rouge entered Panh’s hometown of Phnom Penh.