S21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine

  • S21, la machine de mort khmère rouge
Genre : Historical
Type : Documentary
Original title : S21, a máquina de morte khmer vermelho [Portugal]
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv, History/society
Year of production : 2002
Format : Feature
Running time : 101 (in minutes)

Sob o regime khmer vermelho, entre 1974 e 1979, cerca de 20000 pessoas foram internadas, torturadas e em seguida executadas no centro de detenção S21, no centro de Phnom Penh. Durante cerca de três anos, Rithy Panh investigou. Pondo frente a frente algozes e vítimas, o cineasta conduz uma reflexão terrível sobre a mecânica totalitária.


2008 Un Barrage contre le Pacifique (em produção)
2007 Le Papier ne peut pas envelopper la braise
2005 Les Artistes du Théâtre Brûlé
2003 S-21, la machine de mort Khmère rouge / Les Gens d'Angkor
2001 Que la barque se brise, que la jonque s'entrouvre
2000 La Terre des âmes errantes
1998 Un soir après la guerre
1996 Bophana, une tragédie cambodgienne
1991 Cambodia, entre guerre et paix
1989 Site 2

More than three million people died in Cambodia during the reign of the Khmer Rouge from April 1975 to January 1979. Thousands of schools, hundreds of hospitals and nearly the entire industrial infrastructure of the country were destroyed. Tuol Slang, named S21, was one of the Khmer Rouge's most notorious torture centres. In the former school buildings in Phnom Penh over 14, 000 people were tortured to death. Only seven inmates survived their stay in Tuol Slang.
It took Rithy Panh two years to locate former prison inmates and guards and persuade them to come to a meeting in S21. In separate interviews, Panh asks victims and persecutors how they came to Tuol Slang, about day-to-day life in the prison and about interrogation and torture methods. Because of excellently maintained interrogation dossiers, the guards give information about "their" cases willingly. Unmoved, they talk about absurd forced confessions and the killing of prisoners. Others demonstrate the brutality with which they pursued their roles as guards, so impressively and in such a practised manner, that it is hard to believe that over 20 years have passed since their last roll call. References to orders, superiors and the party are heard repeatedly.
Rithy Panh's emotional film offers not only an insight into Pol Pot's system of terror, but also numerous testimonies bringing together human cruelty and an authoritarian character. And "S21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine" makes an important contribution to coming to terms with the past in Cambodian society, where for many years the trial of those responsible for the genocide has been discussed. Not one of the perpetrators has yet been brought to justice.


Plus de 18 récompenses internationales dont :

DOCLISBOA 2004 - II Lisbon International Documentary Film Festival" - (Portugal) Octobre 2004
> Grand Prix Spécial du Jury

"The International Premier Award" à Londres - 10 juin 2004
> Prix "One World Media Awards"

Prix Albert Londres de l'audiovisuel - mai 2004

Festival international du film de Hong Kong - avril 2004
> Humanitarian award du meilleur documentaire

One World 2004 (Prague), 6è Festival international du film documentaire des droits de l'homme (République tchèque) - avril 2004
> The Vaclav Havel Special Award
> Best Director Award

Prix européen du cinéma (Allemagne) - Décembre 2003
> PRIX ARTE 2003
> Prix du meilleur documentaire européen

Festival international de Valladolid (Espagne) - Novembre 2003
> Grand Prix [Top Prize]

Yamagata Film Festival (Japon) - Octobre 2003
> Runner-Up Prize

Festival de Leipzig (Allemagne) - Octobre 2003
> Golden Dove for Documentary Film
> Prize of the international critics

Prix Italia - Septembre 2003
> Dans la catégorie "Culturel et d'intérêt général"

International Human Rights Film Festival - Nuremberg (Allemagne) - Septembre 2003
> Grand Prix [Film Award]

Festival de Copenhague - Août 2003
> Grand Prix Spécial du Jury

Prix URTI, Festival international de Télévision (Monte-Carlo) - Juillet 2003
> Médaille d'argent

Festival de Cannes 2003
> Sélection Officielle
> Prix François Chalais

Berlinale - Festival de Berlin
> Prix Européen du cinéma

European Film Academy
> Documentary Award

French release : 11/02/2004


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