In S21, Rithy Panh brings two survivors and former members of the Khmer Rouge back to the notorious Tuol Sleng prison (code-named “S21”), now a genocide museum. Painter Vann Nath confronts his former captors in the converted schoolhouse where he was tortured. It was by chance that he escaped that fate that most of the prison’s 17,000 men, women, and children suffered. The “crimes” of these prisoners were meticulously documented to justify their execution. The former Khmer Rouge guards respond to Nath's provocations with excuses, chilling stoicism or apparent remorse as they recount the atrocities they committed at ages as young as 12 years.

Photo: John Vink / Magnum Photos

  • Directed By Rithy Panh
  • 2002
  • France/Cambodia
  • Khmer and Vietnamese with English subtitles
  • 101 minutes