The Missing Picture / L’image manquante

country, yearThe missing picture
Cambodia / France, 2013


running time

directed by
Rithy Panh



From the time when the Khmer Rouge ruled over Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, the only recorded artifacts that remain are propaganda footage. Director Rithy Panh uses beautifully detailed sculpted clay figurines and elaborate dioramas intercut with archival footage to recreate the missing images from his memory. His recollections of his family and friends before and after the regime’s rule are poignantly told through a narrator’s poetic voice. From start to finish, “The Missing Picture” is a unique documentary that manages to capture a historical moment that otherwise never would have been told.

Meticulous direction. Panh honors the Khmer Rouge’s victims while staging the agony and responsibility of memory itself.
— Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Panhabout the author

Rithy Panh was born in 1964 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Survivor of the Khmer Rouge labor camps where he lost part of his family, he arrived in France in 1980. Graduated from IDHEC (Institute for the Advanced Cinematographic Studies), he decided to devote his work as a filmmaker to a duty of remembrance. Site II, his first documentary is about Khmer refugee camps on the border of Thailand and Cambodia. In 2002, S 21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, presented out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, deals with the duty to remember. Rithy Panh has also initiated the creation of a Centre for Audiovisual Resources of Cambodia opened in 2006, which purpose is to enable the Cambodian people to consult the video, audio and photo archives collected on Cambodia.

The Missing Picture was awarded at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 with the Un certain regard prize. Rithy Panh dedicated his award to dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, under house arrest in his country and banned from practicing his profession.


2000 Que la barque se brise, que la jonque s’entrouvre
2002 S21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
2003 The People of Angkor
2005 The Burnt Theatre
2006 Paper cannot wrap up embers
2009 The Sea Wall
2011 Duch, Master of The Forges of Hell
2011 Shiiku

S21,The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, Flammarion with Christine Chaumeau
Paper cannot wrap up embers, Grasset, April 2007 with Louise Lorentz
L’Elimination, Grasset, Janary 2012 with Christophe Bataille


festivals, awards
Un Certain Regard Prize – Cannes Film Festival (2013); Official Selection – Academy Awards (2014), Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival (2013).