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Duch: Master of the Forges of Hell
A film by Rithy Panh

103 minutes, documentary, color, French & Khmer w/English subtitles, 2011
DVD packaged in a certified Green Forestry eco pack


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Synopsis

From Rithy Pahn, director of the notorious documentary S21: the Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, comes his searing follow-up: Duch: Master of the Forges of Hell.

Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the death of nearly 2 million people - a quarter of the Cambodia population. Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, directed both the M13 and S21 centers where tens of thousands of people were tortured and executed. He is the first Khmer Rouge leader to be brought before an international criminal justice court; he was found guilty and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Panh films an incredible, horrifying in-depth interview with Duch, who candidly talks about his ascension in the Khmer Rouge party, and his involvement in the mass murder of his fellow Cambodians. As The Hollywood Reporter said, Panh's film is "likely one of the most elaborate discussions with someone responsible for mass genocide."


Reviews

"Powerful...riveting...masterfully disturbing. A Cambodian 'Fog of War.'" -Variety

"A companion piece to his documentary, 'S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine,' Cambodian auteur Rithy Panh once again delves into his homeland's bloody historical record. Not unlike Hannah Arendt's classic study of Eichmann, 'Duch' describes a highly bureaucratic apparatus of death, where testimonies culled from tortured prisoners are scrutinized, corrected, and then sent to party headquarters to be examined by defense minister Son Sen and, occasionally, by Pol Pot himself. The film is most telling when Duch holds up copies of his own handwritten lists of slaughtered prisoners, revealing how an entire life was reduced by the Khmer regime into a single stroke of ink."
- The Hollywood Reporter

"Confronted with the evidence by director Rithy Panh, 'Duch' recounts the murderous methodology with chilling clarity - 'Torture them, interrogate them, destroy them' - and the ideological principles by which it was justified. While viewing video testimony from survivors regarding his misdeeds, he responds with some of the most disgusting laughter in all cinema... The twist at the end, in which he explains his newfound Christian devotion, adds a bitter irony." - The New Yorker

"An intriguing, provocative documentary…I was very quickly sucked in. Completely engrossing and horrifying." - Michael Doherty, Pop Culture Beat

"In its restraint and slow reveals, its cerebral focus on the machination of a mathematician turned torturer, Duch: Master of the Forges of Hell is one of the most riveting films you will ever see about a mass murderer." - Cineaste


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