Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 by Caroline Cao
Cambodia, April 1975. A mother’s world is turned upside-down. One moment, Chou is enjoying a warm family meal in the thriving capital of Phnom Penh. Another moment, plates and dishes are toppled and no family is to be found. The city is emptied, save for soldiers and smoke. We learn that an evacuation has taken place. The citizens walk in line toward the mismanaged labor camps that will overwork and starve them. Soldiers purge Chou’s middle-class family of declared “impurities”—their car, their clothing—chop their hair, and force them to labor in camps that starve and torture them. Complaints, exhaustion, and sorrow, and rage are seen as signs of disposability. Souls around Chou start falling or vanishing.
Released in Annecy last year to acclaim and awards, director and writer Denis Do forged Funan, his animated feature film debut, from the testimonies of his mother and other survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s regime and its heinous societal experiment to create a classless agrarian society.