Archive of films The Missing Picture / L' image manquante

Cambodia / France
2013, 90 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2013

World-renowned Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh returns to the time when the Khmer Rouge was in power. Based on his book The Elimination, his documentary uses animation to present a dispassionate portrayal of the horrific experiences his own family suffered under Pol Pot’s regime. At the recent Cannes film festival, the film won Un Certain Regard’s highest prize.


Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh addressed his country’s terrible past in his previous works as well; Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge exterminated more than two million people. When Panh decided to shoot a highly personal documentary in which he planned to share his memories from the labor camp where many of his family members lost their lives, he realized that he didn’t have any photographs from 1975 to 1979 that might help to paint a picture of the horrors of genocide and thus truthfully depict a piece of Cambodia’s history. "Of course, a photograph on its own cannot be proof of mass murder,” says Rithy Panh. "But it can force you to think. While vainly searching archives and documents throughout the country, it occurred to me to replace it with something that I would make myself and that would take the place of the missing photograph.” Using ceramic figures, the director has succeeded in bringing to life his lost childhood while providing eloquent testimony to his family’s tragedy.

About the director

Rithy Panh (b. 1964, Phnom Penh, Cambodia), the son of a teacher and school inspector, suffered Khmer Rouge persecution along with his entire family. After seeing his closest relatives die of malnutrition in a labor camp, 15-year-old Rithy Panh managed to escape to Thailand. After making it to France, he studied film at IDHEC in Paris. He first returned to Cambodia in 1990, but continues to live primarily in Paris. He has made numerous documentaries, some of them with elements of fiction. The drama Rice People (Naek sre, 1994), about a family struggling to survive immediately following the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was screened in competition at Cannes and was the first Cambodian film to be nominated for an Oscar. The Missing Picture (2013) won the Un Certain Regard section at this year’s Cannes festival.


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Tel: +33 153 103 399
Fax: +33 153 103 398

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Horizons
Director: Rithy Panh
Screenplay: Rithy Panh
Dir. of Photography: Prum Mésa
Music: Marc Marder
Editor: Rithy Panh, Marie-Christine Rougerie
Producer: Catherine Dussart
Production: CDP
Contact: Playtime


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