Doc Corner: Rithy Panh’s ‘Graves Without a Name’

by KhmerLife on May 07, 2020

Doc Corner: Rithy Panh’s ‘Graves Without a Name’

It is not very often an autobiographical documentary about genocide is selected to open a prestigious strand of one of the biggest film festivals in the world. I suppose that's what being the first filmmaker to, among other things, land an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film with a work of non-fiction does to one's reputation. Director Rithy Panh has forged his career through telling the stories of his Cambodian homeland and it's a testament that despite what may be considered tunnel vision for other filmmakers, this is his 18th feature, he continues to find new and interesting angles to investigate.

After detours through a colonial archival scrap-book in�France is Our Mother Country�and meditative stargazing experimental curiosity�Exile, Panh has returned to the more earthbound terrain of his Oscar-nominated�The Missing Picture�(my�no. 1 documentary of the decade). A film as rooted in the mud and the dirt that built that film its signature image of gaunt and decaying figurines,�Graves�finds Panh on an even more personal mission than that film…

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