25 September 2014 | aaskillz69
Fabulous Documentary. Ranks among 2013's best.
"It's not a picture of loved ones i seek, i want to touch them, their voices are missing, so i wont tell. I want to leave it all, leave my language, my country in vain and my childhood returns. Now it's the boy who seeks me out, i see him, he wants to speak to me but words are hard to find." -Randal Douc
I think i first heard of The Missing Picture more than a year ago when it premiered at Cannes and got out of there with the Un Certain Regard Award. The early buzz was good but the film did not stay with me and it was quickly forgotten until it's name came as a surprise in Academy Award Nominations that gave the film a nomination at the Best Foreign Picture. Then i check out the film again and realized that it had gotten great reviews overall and the film entered my watchlist but only seven months after that event was able actually able to see it. I was now still curious but not exactly excited to see it.
The Missing Picture is Directed by Rithy Panh, "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."
As said i was interested but not exactly excited to finally see this, i felt like it was more of an obligation since it had received great praise and even an Academy Award Nomination. Well i got to say that i'm a foll because i was completely overwhelmed by this film, it's a shame that it have only seen it now and a shame that most people have not yet seen and are likely to never see this wonderful little movie.
It's funny because i had heard from the film for so long but i went in knowing absolutely nothing, i had no idea what it was about, i had heard that it was an unusual kind of documentary, but the film was not nominated for that category so i was a bit confused. The film is indeed a documentary that follows the life experience of a man who lived under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. So after gaining independence and fighting the Vietnam War and a Civil War the Cambodian people went through a lot more they went through the Communist Regime, where the slogan are everyone is equal and those who complaint are enemies, where ignorance and hunger are kings. The Cambodian holocaust went through four years of enslavement and working fields that killed over 2.500.000. people. You probably didn't know that right? Me neither.
The film certainly as a moving, touchy subject but only having an important subject doesn't make a good documentary, it's direction sure is important and here the direction is certainly unorthodox and the results are nothing short of outstanding. Documentary does feature live action images of the working fields but most of the film's narrative and storytelling is done through clay figures. Yes clay figures are used to dramatize the horrifying images that the director as a child saw and experienced. The results, are nothing of amazing, this could have gone real goofy, or maybe it would have been impossible to us audience to make a connection with the story if it's being told by clay figures but non of that is true. Weirdly or not we are able to connect and relate to the clay figures and the film is able to be emotionally wrecking and have an enormous deal of power even if through those little pieces.
Never in a million years would i have thought that those little figures would have moved me in the way they did, they are quite disturbing too, the faces of the figures, very expressive at times it was like the fear, the hunger it became palpable, it's amazing. This is also due to the documentaries fantastic direction that reminded me of Hiroshima Mon Amour, it's poetic, breathtaking.
The Missing Picture is an amazingly underseen picture, last years best documentary(yes better than The Act of Killing) and by the way why was this not nominated for that category. Well continuing...if you have the chance see it and you won't be disappointed, it's emotionally shattering, it's unusual, innovative, poignant and overall an extremely well made documentary that is among last years best.