IDFA - Graves Without a Name
Rithy Panh / FR, 2018 / 116 min.
After The Missing Picture (2013) and Exile (2016), Rithy Panh completes his trilogy on Cambodia’s collective trauma. Having previously analyzed the mechanisms of crime, Panh now searches for a path to peace and acceptance. He returns to the countryside where he lost most of his family at the hands of the murderous the Khmer Rouge when he was just 13. As with thousands like them, no one knows what became of their remains.
Surviving farmers recall the atrocities, hesitantly but frankly. Their stories are accompanied by footage of the gruesome landscape and tragic final traces of human existence: items of clothing, an old spoon, yellowing photos. Through Buddhist rituals, they seek contact with the anonymous dead whose bodies were randomly discarded. Using masks and puppets, Panh creates visual memorials to all the dead loved ones, seeking to bring an end to the psychological problems that are passed down from generation to generation.