Cambodia is going to the Oscars.
Director Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture, shortlisted for the honour late last month with eight other films, has been chosen as one of the five nominees for the Academy Award for best foreign-language film.
The Missing Picture, which in May earned the top prize in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, employs a mixture of miniature clay figures and archival footage in recounting Panh’s experiences and memories of the Khmer Rouge period.
“I’m very happy for me and happy for Cambodia,” he told the Post late yesterday evening, just moments after learning of his nomination via an SMS from a friend in the US.
“It’s a good moment for all of us. We’ve had many problems, and sometimes good news like this can make people feel proud of their country.”
Panh added that the nomination – Cambodia’s first ever – showed the talent of craftsmen working in the local filmmaking industry. “Now people know where we are,” he laughed.
Picture will face off with Denmark’s The Hunt, Italian entry The Great Beauty, Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown and Palestinian effort Omar.
The 86th annual Academy Awards take place on March 2.