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S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
A film by Rithy Panh

101 minutes, documentary, color, Khmer w/ English subtitles, 2003

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S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine is part of The Human Rights Watch Collection.

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 17,000 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In this award-winning documentary and astonishing historical document, survivor Vann Nath confronts his captors, some of whom were as young as 12 years old when they committed their atrocities.

WINNER! International Human Rights Award 2004
WINNER! Best Documentary, Chicago Intíl Film Festival & European Film Awards
WINNER! Francois Chalais Award, Cannes Film Festival


"A chilling, remarkable film. . . eloquent beyond words." - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"As horrific an exposure to evil as Lanzmann's Shoah." - Village Voice

"A fume of pure evil rises from this often quite terrifying documentary... moving and haunting." - Guardian (U.K.)

"A plainspoken powerhouse that makes you weep for humanity." - NY Newsday

"Shattering...won't soon be forgotten." - TV Guide

Recommended Reading

When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge

The Lost Executioner: A Story of the Khmer Rouge by Nic Dunlop

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Luong Ung

Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing S. Ngor & Roger Warner


Click here to learn about Human Rights Watch work in Cambodia.

Disc Features

●  Director Interview
●  Biography & Filmography
●  Cambodia: A Chronology
●  Human Rights Watch Film Notes

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