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‘Missing Picture’ Draws Large Washington Crowd

“The Missing Picture,” a film by Rithy Panh.
“The Missing Picture,” a film by Rithy Panh.
Oscar-nominated “The Missing Picture,” a film by Rithy Panh, was screened along with the other four other competitors this past weekend at the National Geographic Museum in Washington.

The one-time screening filled the 400-seat theater.

Among those is the audience was Russell Williams, a professor at American University’s School of Communication and a voting member of the Academy of the Motion Pictures, which awards the Oscars each year.

Williams told VOA Khmer he admired the “ingenious way” the director Rithy Panh used clay with stock footage and live action to create the memoir film. The use of the figures to tell his families story allows other people to better sympathize, he said.

“Because of the clay figures, you can say ‘Oh, that’s my mom, that’s my grandmother, that’s this guy, that’s this kid over here,’” he said. “It could be anybody. I think that really makes it more personal than putting a face up there that maybe you are able to relate to that face, or maybe you don’t.”

Lim Peng Chhun, who lived through the Khmer Rouge, said he wanted to thank Rithy Panh for making the film.

“I think this film is very valuable for mankind to understand what happened in Cambodia,” he said. “To this day, many people still do not know or do not understand what went on in Cambodia.”

Cambodian-American Ratha Ea of Silver Springs, Md., said she hopes Rithy Panh wins the Oscar.

“I hope that he gets it so that a lot of people will know more about Cambodia, about how we are established in film,” he said. “It’s kind of tough because Cambodia is so poor. We don’t have many directors in Cambodia. This is a change for us.”

Sokha Kim, of Arlington, Va., believes the film is a great way to explore the realities of the period. “I think this is a big moment for the Khmer people. This film shed some light on the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge.”

“The Missing Picture” is competing with four other films in the Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards. The winner will be announced during a live broadcast on Sunday, March 2, in Los Angeles, Calif.