S21:The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine

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Released 2004

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Movie Summary

Director:
Rithy Panh
Released:
2004
Rating:
Not Available
In 1975-79, almost two million Cambodians lost their lives to murder and famine when the Khmer Rouge forced the urban population into the countryside to fulfill their ideal of an agrarian utopia. The notorious detention center code-named 'S21' was the schoolhouse-turned prison where 17000 men, women and children were tortured and killed, their "crimes" meticulously documented to justify their execution. In this award-winning documentary and astonishing historical document, survivor Vann Nath confronts his captors, some of whom were as young as 12 years old when they committed their atrocities.

Metacritic Score

  • 83

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Yet S21, unlike many documentaries about the Nazi era, isn't a sickening panorama of brutality. Shot on video, it's quiet and intimate.

  • 80

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Mr. Rithy Panh makes telling use of a survivor whose ability to communicate lends itself to the subject. The tragedy is that Mr. Vann Nath's powers are used to illuminate these hor...

  • 50

    Variety Derek Elley

    There's no shortage of existing docus on the subject, and Panh's doesn't bring either a fresh enough angle or enough new material to the table to justify its length.

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Categories

Documentary

Themes

Crime & Conspiracy, History