Review: Funan, 2019, dir. Denis Do

(Note: No idea why, but there’s an issue with WordPress connecting to Facebook, so if you’re seeing this…you didn’t see it because of Facebook.)

A couple years ago, I singled out Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father as one of 2017’s best movies. I stand by that ranking. But in 2019, I am sorely tempted to do the hacky thing and pit that movie against French-Cambodian filmmaker Denis Do’s movie, Funan, similarly focused on the same subject matter, similarly personal, but made from a different vantage point.

They’re different movies. Of course they are. Jolie worked with Loung Ung to turn Ung’s memoir into a movie; Do has turned his mother’s own recollections of the Khmer Rouge period into a movie. So comparing them feels heartless at worst, obvious at best. But Do does much with Funan while doing very little. The animation is no frills, but the simplicity contains multitudes. Straightforward as the film seems, it’s nuanced, and grows increasingly so over its duration.

You can read my full review over at Paste Magazine.


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