Oscar Nomination for Foreign Film of The Missing Picture, Directed by Rithy Panh
by Jan Schmidt, Curator, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Jerome Robbins Dance DivisionMarch 4, 2014
The Dance Division wishes to express our great joy for the Oscar nomination in the Category of Foreign Film for The Missing Picture, directed by Rithy Panh. "This haunting, at times shocking movie—part memoir, part indictment—fills the void suggested by its title. With extraordinary grace, Rithy Panh tells his story and that of his ravaged country," wrote Mahnola Dargis in The New York Times, September 26, 2013.
Among his many accomplishments, including founding Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, Rithy Panh was instrumental in the Khmer Dance Project. Funded by a grant from the Anne Hendricks Bass Foundation, the KDP began in 2008 when the Center for Khmer Studies partnered with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division to interview and film the three generations of artists—including dancers, musicians and singers, as well as embroiderers and dressers—who kept dance alive during and in the wake of the Khmer Rouge regime. The recording and editing of these videotapes was facilitated by Bophana.
The New York Public Library offers streaming video of all these recordings free of charge through its Digital Collections at digitalcollections.nypl.org/dancevideo. There one can click on the Khmer Dance Project, listed as a featured collection.
Even though the Italian drama The Great Beauty won the Oscar, it was important that Cambodia was represented in the nominees. “Being nominated for an Oscar is always a big deal, lifting someone's career or a movie's fortunes at the box office. In Cambodia, an Oscar nomination is proving to be a big deal for an entire nation, crystallizing how important reviving the arts has been for a country devastated by decades of war, genocide and corruption,” Elizabeth Becker wrote on February 27, 2014 in The Los Angeles Times.