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Missing Picture (Bilingual) [Import]

DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 30.71 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

UPC 712267331727, In English and French with English subtitles; Release date: June 10, 2014 Widescreen, DVD Region 1 Stars: Randal Douc, Jean-Baptiste Phou Strand Releasing

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Sometimes a silence is a scream' March 30 2014
By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This was Cambodia's entrance for the 2014 Oscars as best foreign language film. It tells the story of Rithy Panh who narrates his tale of what happened to him and his loved ones when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia. Renaming it Kampuchea and taking the country back to year zero. He uses a mix of archive footage and clay figures which have been carved by hand to recreate what took place. The missing picture are the parts of history that was not photographed and as such only those who were there can bear witness to the atrocities that took place.

When the capital Pnom Penh was emptied - over two million people were uprooted and moved into the countryside. They had every modern thing taken away and were only allowed the clothes on their back - except the shoes and a spoon. The clothes had to be dyed black. They were forced to work in the collectivised camps often doing menial back breaking work that had no real value except to crush the will of the people. The individual as a concept was ended - the party was all that mattered. Death and disease were rampant and this is all told using the clay figures. The Khmer Rouge used to fire slogans at the people all day so that even now Rithy Panh can remember them all verbatim - like `Each being will be a revolutionary or fertiliser for rice'.

There are scenes of animal cruelty here from the archives too as well as humans being mistreated. It can be a difficult watch in places but the narrative is often quite poetic. It is all in French with good subtitles. A very moving and sad account of what this poor man went through and told in an unusual medium. Whilst it may seem to be less immediate because of the little figurines, it still packs quite a punch when you hear what took place in 1975 to 1979 to a country the world seemed to have forgotten about.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five- Star Oscar Nominee has both English narration and French Version with English Subtitles July 22 2014
By Steven I. Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
For shear creativity I can’t think of another recent film that supersedes this Oscar-nominated film in finding a way to tell a story that is important, requires the use of images and yet the original images are lost. I’ll leave it to my fellow reviewers here, who have posted more detailed reviews and, apparently, know more about the history presented here than I do admit I do. This is not a film with claymation stop-action technique. The hand carved figures (10s of them!) never move and are not animated. But each is unique.

The DVD version from Strand presents the original Oscar-nominated version with the French narration and english subtitles. But it also has a new English narration. I chose the later, simply because I could then watch the images instead of reading the subtitles. And, unlike dubbed films, the narrator is never seen so there is no synchronization issue.
And, while I felt the quality of the photography and the story the words were telling was both important, I found the tone of the narrator had very little change in the inflection of his voice and , after 30 minutes (of the 96 minute running time), beginning to lose interest. But I stuck it out to the end.

Because of the English narration issue I can only give the film four stars.

But I do recommend that you see it. It is Oscar-worthy.

There are no other special features on the DVD.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Sometimes a silence is a scream' March 30 2014
By Tommy Dooley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This was Cambodia's entrance for the 2014 Oscars as best foreign language film. It tells the story of Rithy Panh who narrates his tale of what happened to him and his loved ones when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia. Renaming it Kampuchea and taking the country back to year zero. He uses a mix of archive footage and clay figures which have been carved by hand to recreate what took place. The missing picture are the parts of history that was not photographed and as such only those who were there can bear witness to the atrocities that took place.

When the capital Pnom Penh was emptied - over two million people were uprooted and moved into the countryside. They had every modern thing taken away and were only allowed the clothes on their back - except the shoes and a spoon. The clothes had to be dyed black. They were forced to work in the collectivised camps often doing menial back breaking work that had no real value except to crush the will of the people. The individual as a concept was ended - the party was all that mattered. Death and disease were rampant and this is all told using the clay figures. The Khmer Rouge used to fire slogans at the people all day so that even now Rithy Panh can remember them all verbatim - like `Each being will be a revolutionary or fertiliser for rice'.

There are scenes of animal cruelty here from the archives too as well as humans being mistreated. It can be a difficult watch in places but the narrative is often quite poetic. It is all in French with good subtitles. A very moving and sad account of what this poor man went through and told in an unusual medium. Whilst it may seem to be less immediate because of the little figurines, it still packs quite a punch when you hear what took place in 1975 to 1979 to a country the world seemed to have forgotten about.
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique take on a human holocaust Aug. 19 2014
By Roland E. Zwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
History, it is said, is written by the victors. But sometimes, it is the victims - or more accurately, the survivors - who get to do the writing. That is the case with Rithy Panh, a Cambodian who survived the horrors of life under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Panh was a mere a child when he suffered the loss of his parents and siblings in the various grueling work camps to which they had been consigned. As an adult, Panh went on to become a documentary filmmaker dedicated to telling his story to the world. It was a purge aimed mainly at the intelligentsia of Cambodian society - the well-off and educated - who posed the greatest threat to the regime's vision of a collectivist agrarian utopia.

Where, Panh asks, are all the pictures of children starving, of people being worked into the grave that more accurately portray the reality of this 20th Century holocaust? Somehow, those were not recorded and preserved for posterity. Instead, we get a series of grainy propaganda images - of workers seemingly happy in their toil, of leaders of the revolution inspiring the masses with their promises of a Communist paradise - that were officially sanctioned by the government. So Panh has taken it upon himself to provide the "missing" pictures the Pol Pot regime failed to provide to the world.

The Oscar-nominated documentary "The Missing Picture" is a stark, haunting illustration of what life was like under Pol Pot's brutal dictatorship. The director alternates between grainy, mostly black-and- white footage taken at the time and diorama-style re-creations using strategically arranged and intricately carved clay figurines. These frozen, expressionless figures, with their searching, unblinking eyes, lift the suffering that the actual people endured to a near-surreal level, while the wistful, soft-spoken narration by Jean-Baptiste Phou echoes the human tragedy at the core. Indeed, the approach Panh has taken manages to personalize a holocaust that, given its enormous breadth and scope - an estimated one to three million people died under the regime - would otherwise be incomprehensible to the human mind. "The Missing Picture," by "going small," paradoxically helps us to see the tragedy writ large.
5.0 out of 5 stars I have been interested in Cambodian history since working with ... July 21 2014
By Bradley Baldwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have been interested in Cambodian history since working with some survivors of the Khmer Rouge in the 1980's. I teach history at the high school level and believe my students would be able to understand the horror of it through the use of figurines in the movie. The amount of work and detail in the carvings is incredible. I found the movie fascinating.
4.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, the one thing is missing... July 3 2014
By Andrew Ellington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Last year I promised to indulge myself in the many documentaries that were getting buzz and good ink throughout the year. The documentary is a genre that I often unfairly ignore, and I understand that in order for me to embrace film as a whole, I need to embrace all avenues. Just like my gradual warming to the Animated Film genre, it took me a while to fully embrace the Documentary, but once I did my love truly soared.

What I found this year were a number of documentary features that tried unique ways to explore a troubled past/present, and three of them found themselves with Oscar’s stamp of approval (all of them losing to those soul singing sistas). ‘The Square’, which was my favorite of Oscar’s nominees, was the most conventionally told documentary in the mix, but it explored the current political unrest in Egypt with such passion and understanding. ‘The Act of Killing’ was not a film that really sat well with me. Exploring the Indonesian atrocities from a truly cinematic and artistic vantage point seemed like an inspired idea, and yet it didn’t really strike the chords I think it wanted to; at least not for me.

‘The Missing Picture’ rests somewhere in the middle.

‘The Missing Picture’ tells a very tragic and heartbreaking story of one man’s life in politically disastrous Cambodia. Rithy Panh fled the country for Thailand in 1979, after experiencing terrible treatment under the Pol Pot regime. To say that I was unaware of this slice of world history would be a complete understatement, considering that I had never heard of these atrocities in any avenue. Sometimes I feel like Americans as a whole are so horrifically uneducated as to the ways of the world in general. We live in a bubble of comfort and turn our ears away from all that goes on away from us. Not everyone, obviously, but as a whole.

There are so many beautifully composed ideas here with regards to Panh’s reflection on the conditions he endured, but also the guilt associated with his inability to stop it. I really admire the honesty with which Panh broached this difficult subject.

The artistic merits here are bountiful. The use of clay figurines are not only visually inspired, but they play well into the themes of childhood innocence lost, that purity that is ‘missing’ from the world he grew up in. The use of archived footage spliced between these ‘play sets’ was jarring and effective. My only qualm here is the monotone narration that I felt lessened the impact and made the film somewhat hard to maintain focus on. It was delivered in such a dull and apathetic way that I found it hard to really invest in, despite the weight of the film’s message.

I give this a B, mostly because so many of these elements line up just right. It’s just a shame that the delivery betrays the film’s set up and leaves me wishing that Panh had found someone with a sharper way of delivering his message, vocally.
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