The Missing Picture

The Missing Picture, a recent Oscar nominee for best documentary, also tells the story of a boy whose parents died at the hands of political oppressors, though in this case it really happened. In April 1975, after the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, young Rithy Panh and his family were turned out of their home in Phnom Penh, herded with their neighbors into railway boxcars, taken to the countryside, and forced to labor on collective farms that were supposed to erase all class distinctions in Cambodian society. Their possessions were confiscated, their clothes dyed black, their names changed as part of their political “reeducation.” Anyone daring to challenge the revolutionary wisdom or even speak about the past was executed. Panh’s high school was turned into a torture center and his brother, a rock-and-roller, disappeared. First his father and then his mother starved to death in the ensuing famine. Continue reading>>