Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THE MISSING PICTURE - 1 nomination


Foreign Language Film - Cambodia

The Missing Picture documents the reign of the Khmer Rouge, and the atrocities committed by them under their ruthless dictator, Pol Pot.  The systematic murder of intellectuals followed by the "re-education" of the Cambodian people is carefully and methodically portrayed through the use of hand created clay figurines, with a background of bits of video footage from the time.  Most photo and video evidence has been destroyed, including individuals' own histories, since they were required to release any personal items from the moment that the Khmer Rouge rounded the people up and sent them to labor camps.

The film is an astounding accomplishment both in storytelling and in the incredible feat of staging hundreds (thousands?) of clay figurines in the settings.  They are truly magnificent and that accomplishment alone makes the film mind boggling.  The story of the violence and brutality is told through the eyes of one survivor, his journey, and his family, and it is impossible to shake off once the film is completed.

When one is able to connect with clay figurines as representations of people, you know there is a powerful story there.  It is not easy to sit through if you have even the slightest sense of humanity, but it is likely the most important of the foreign films nominated this year.  The question for the Academy voters is likely to be what prevented The Missing Picture from making the top 5 list of the full length documentary nominees, as it easily competes with this year's crop.  However, what a relief to know that this film will get recognition and attention through the foreign film category, at least.  It will be interesting to observe how a documentary competes with original screenplays written to be entertainment, rather than the review of real life events.

Either way, The Missing Picture is an outstanding and moving film - one that is truly not to be missed.

Haven't seen the film?
Watch The Missing Picture Movie Trailer

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