The Cannes Festival is also at its best when it serves our interests through the rewarding of serious works that have a strong historical and social component.
During a brief ceremony in the Theatre Claude Debussy tonight Thomas Vinterberg and the rest of the Un Certain Regard jury handed out prizes to films presented in that section. Of note, Rithy Panh’s “The Missing Picture,” an exceptional documentary film about the director’s childhood under the premiership of Saloth Sar, also known as Pol Pot.
During his time in power Pol Pot imposed agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects. The combined effects of executions, forced labor, malnutrition, and poor medical care caused the deaths of approximately 25 percent of the Cambodian population, according to the Wiki about Pol Pot. In all, an estimated 1 to 3 million people (out of a population of slightly over 8 million) died due to the policies of his three-year premiership.
Through a visually fascinating method of setting clay figures within various backgrounds reconstituting labor camps and interspersing a lucid narration of the insidious horrors of forced labor projects with news footage Panh created a living, breathing memento of one of the most damaged eras in mankind’s history, all of which was happening on right under our noses.
In other wins, the alternatively tender and chilling “L’Inconnu du Lac” by Alain Guiraudie, a dark thriller set by a lake where gay men cruise each other. One of the highlights of this year’s Un Certain Regard program.
Here’s the complete list of awards that were given tonight:
PRIZE OF UN CERTAIN REGARD
THE MISSING PICTURE by Rithy PANH
OMAR by Hany ABU-ASSAD
Alain GUIRAUDIE for STRANGER BY THE LAKE
A CERTAIN TALENT PRIZE
For the ensemble cast of LA JAULA DE ORO by Diego QUEMADA-DIEZ
FRUITVALE STATION by Ryan COOGLER