By: Anita Chang
A daunting task that continues to confront mediamakers is how to represent the unrepresentable—that of calamities and atrocities of unimaginable magnitude. And, why must we do so? Even more challenging is when the mediamaker himself is a survivor. Such is the case for veteran filmmaker Rithy Panh, who has committed his life to probing and exposing the Cambodian genocide and its aftermath. Having produced 18 narrative dramas and documentaries, including “Catch” and “S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine,” his latest work is his most personal. Having toiled in labor camps as a boy and watched his entire family and relatives die, he prepares to grapple with this childhood memory that is “pounding at my temple” 35 years later. Using clay figures, archival footage and live action, Panh materializes the missing pictures for us. We see more than the past becoming present, but how and why. Stunningly vivid and achingly intimate, Panh’s essayistic and elegiac narrative rightfully garnered him the 2013 Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes.
Originally posted at CAAMFest.