In 1975, at age 13, filmmaker Rithy Panh’s world turned into a complete nightmare. As a child in Phnom Penh, he saw his family expelled from their urban environment and sent to the countryside of Cambodia.
The Khmer Rouge had begun its ruthless process of re-educating the population according to the communist ideology of the regime’s “brother number one,” Pol Pot. The population starved as the agrarian experiment failed, and executions removed the nonbelievers in the cause.
Rithy Panh survived, but his family did not. His film, The Missing Picture, an Oscar nominee this year in the foreign-language category, is an attempt to recall those years through a personal lens (he has previously made straightforward documentaries on the subject of the Khmer Rouge).