Rithy Panh was just a young boy during the atrocities which took place under the Khmer Rouge's rule over Cambodia. Panh spent many years trying to find a photograph taken between 1975 and 1979 by the Khmer Rouge, browsing various archives throughout Cambodia. After his realization that the picture was gone,and it wouldn't tell the full story, he decided to create this film. Panh's The Missing Picture uses various archival footage, hand-made clay figurines, and Panh's own narration to depict the horrifying and sobering atrocities which occurred in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. To be completely honest when I first heard about The Missing Picture I thought it sounded interesting but a film that was probably over-praised due to it's "gimmicky approach" of using clay figurines. Well, needless to say I was very wrong, as The Missing Picture beautiful blends these different aesthetics together to create an immersive experience. The Missing Picture is meticulous in presenting the audience with an in-depth portrait of what happened in Cambodia through this deeply personal journey. Through Panh, we see the emotional stasis memory can cause when confronted with such atrocities. It is not an easy watch because of this but it's full of great ideals surrounding politics, memory, emotion, and identity. The Missing Picture certainly captures the dehumanization which can take place from pure ideology but its exploration of the relationship between emotions and memory is also worth the price of admission.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.