KYOTO: March 23, 2016 13:30-18:00
International Science Innovation Building Symposium Hall
TOKYO: March 25th, 2016 13:30-18:00 JFIC Hall SAKURA
About the Project
Southeast Asia is rich in its diversity of ethnic, religious and cultural composition. The region has maintained the coexistence of such diversity while at the same time achieving economic progress and becoming a hub for the flow of people, goods, money and information. Yet at present, the region is also confronted with serious issues such as the decrease of biodiversity and tropical forests, disasters, pandemics, aging population, ethnic and religious conflicts, economic differentiation and poverty.
In the face of this, how is coexistence and sustainability possible despite the diversity that exists? How can we make public resources out of the region’ s social foundations which are the basis of people’ s everyday lives? And, how can we connect these in a complementary way to existing systems of governance towards solving the problems and issues mentioned above?
In order to address these questions in the context of Southeast Asia, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University has initiated “Visual Documentary project” which explicitly examines everyday life through a visual approach since 2012. This project aims to use visual forms of expression to complement the growing literature that exists on Southeast Asian societies. From 2014, the Japan Foundation Asia Center joins this project as co-organizer to help widely promote the richness of Southeast Asian cultures to people in Japan. As of 2015, the project has linked up with numerous film schools in the region to help strengthen the documentary filmmaking network.
Organized by Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Kyoto University and The Japan Foundation Asia Center
In cooperation with Yangon Film School, Documentary Arts Asia, WATHANN FILM FESTIVAL, In-Docs, Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center
- Movement in Southeast Asia -
Movement is a fundamental reality of human societies. In Southeast Asia how does it influence individuals, families, communities and nations? What journeys do people take as they move within, across and out of the region? What are their reasons to move and what stories do they have to tell? What experiences define movement in the region? And how will the region’s governments manage flows on the eve of the birth of ASEAN Economic Community?
Date & Time: March 23, 2016 13:30-18:00 (DOORS OPEN: 13:00)
Venue: Kyoto University International Science Innovation Building Symposium Hall
Language: Japanese / English Translation
Organizer: Center for Southeast Asia Studies
Co-organizer: Japan Foundation Asia Center
Date & Time: March 25th, 2016 13:30-18:00 (DOORS OPEN: 13:00) Admission Free , No Reservation Required
Venue: JFIC Hall SAKURA
Language: Japanese / English Translation
Organizer: The Japan Foundation Asia Center
Co-organizer: Center for Southeast Asia Studies
Among the different economic and religious networks that exist in Mae Sot district, a city along Thailand-Burma border, ‘Michael Rofik’ and ‘Michael Mohamad’ Yameen two Rohingyas, have been struggling for their livelihood while trying to maintain their Rohingya identity. The two Michaels come from the same ethnic group but their economic status and background differ. This story takes place in Mae Sot and Umpiem Refugee camps. Although both migrated a long time ago, they do not belong to either Thailand or Myanmar.
Dedicated to Grandpa Dieu
Hien Anh Nguyen
This documentary depicts the everyday life of an elderly person, Mr. Dieu, in busy Hanoi city. He leads a simple life in a modest house with a blue wooden door on a small corner of a busy street. The documentary focuses on Mr. Dieu – a man with strong ambition - who used to work as a freelance interpreter at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the mid-1960s. He works very hard, translating books he likes, but he has never tried to publish any of them himself.
This documentary follows the life of an Indonesian family living in Sabah, Malaysia. It is told from the perspective of a child, Nirwana (12 years old), who holds a big dream to become a singer despite family struggles.
Khon Soe Moe Aung
For over 60 years in Kayah State, Myanmar, different ethnic armed groups have been fighting the Burmese Army in a war for freedom and independence. A group of war veterans have opened an artificial leg workshop constructing a hundred legs per year for fellow veterans with the same stroke of fate - leaving ethnic differences behind.
A Political Life
Soe Arkar Htun
U Thein Soe dedicated the best years of his life to working as Aung San Suu Kyi’s bodyguard. To please his long-suffering wife and family he has now bowed out of politics − but still can’t help giving up his time to provide local people with valuable legal advice.
Documentaries line-up 2014 -People and Nature in Southeast Asia-
Documentaries line-up 2012 -“Care”in Southeast Asia: Every Day and into the Future-
“The Social Significance of Documentaries” by Rithy PanhPART1 LECTURE PART2 Q&A SESSION
Rithy Panh, the oscar nominated Cambodian documentary filmmaker, came to CSEAS to screen “S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine” (2003) and talk about the social significance of documentaries.
Date: Tuesday June 9th
Venue: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University Inamori Memorial 3rd floor, Large Meeting Hall
Film screening: “S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine”
Lecture: “Social Significance of Documentaries: How Can Documentary Film Depict and Communicate the Memories of Massacre”
Q&A Moderator: Satoru Kobayashi (CSEAS)
Film Screening and Lecture by Rithy Panh: Part1 Lecture
Later, I read a passage from a book by Primo Levi, “Survival in Auschwitz: If This Is a Man.” There was a strong fear for Primo Levi on the way back from a Nazi concentration camp to his own home in Italy. It was the fear that nobody might believe his story about what he had experienced there.
Then, I finally realized there, the meaning of the painter’s behavior. He brought the chief guard of the Khmer Rouge and was confirming with him what had really been taking place in S21.Van Nath was exquisitely tackling the work of memory concerning S21 through his paintings. They are brilliant works, but as paintings, they are subjective. He offered testimony from the victim’s side but one-sided evidence is not sufficient. We also need testimony from the perpetrator’s side.
As you see, movies are something very odd. It was not me who decided to set up the confrontation or the encounter between the victims and the perpetrators, but the confrontation between the two just came to me by itself as if it was something significant and inevitable. If I had been the one who had set it up, it would have ended up as a disappointing result because that would be something just staged.
That kind of moment is perhaps the only reason why I remain attached to documentary films. There is always something human about it. When you deal with such themes, you must have a conviction for documentary. That conviction is almost like a religious faith. In other words, that is a faith to believe that it is impossible to utterly destroy the human existence, that there is always a trace of memories and there is certainly evidence or a trace of memories, which can conquer temptations of utter elimination which the Khmer Rouge had intended to bring about through genocide.
I raise all of the above issues in the hope that they can be an introduction for further discussion.
Any questions will be welcomed, so please go ahead and ask me questions.
Film Screening and Lecture by Rithy Panh: Part2 Question and answer session
- Kobayashi Satoru (KS):
Thank you for your important talk. Before we move on (to the Question and answer session), I would like to say that there might be three different kinds of questions. The first kind might be about the movie “S21.” The second kind might be about the situation concerning the emergence of Cambodia at the time of Khmer Rouge, with a wider view on S21 and its background. And finally, as the title for today’s lecture is “the social significance of documentary films”, I suppose there will be some questions regarding this larger issue.
As I listened to the talk on “S21” about Cambodia during the time of the Khmer Rouge and about documentary films, I think we have been able to hear considerably about Director Rithy Panh’s opinions on these respective issues. In particular, he has talked about recognizing that the genocide meant “Kamtech,” or in short, “elimination” or “eradication existence itself.” He also stated that the biggest purpose of visualizing the genocide was to give back the names and faces to those who were eliminated and to discuss history in that sense.
We have also been provided with elaborate explanations about the detention center called S21. In the interview scene, we saw a notable encounter between Van Nath, a painter and the guards. Until today, I did not know how this encounter had come about and found it very thought-provoking.
I have here some questions collected from the audience. The first is about a specific scene in “S21.” In the film, Van Nath said to the guards “you became like an animal,” a comment which sounded like a condemnation of a kind. The questioner however, argues that animals would never torture themselves or kill each other. We received another comment claiming that the one who would carry out torture would be the human being. I would like to introduce this question as a starter. What do you (director) think about this?
Rithy Panh (RP):
I wonder if we are sure whether the one who carries out torture is a human being or ideology itself. I think we should not be pessimistic about the fate of human beings. Human beings cannot be completely good or evil. However, ideologies can sometimes bring out and stimulate the barbaric nature of human beings which is considered to be more animal-like.
At the beginning of my talk today, I used the term “intention of genocide”. With this intention, there is something we must think about. In the case of genocide, be it the Jewish holocaust or Cambodian genocide, a process of “dehumanization” is sure to take place before the massacre, through which they try to turn people into something impersonal. Thus, in that sense of turning people into something impersonal, I guess the word animal may be an appropriate expression.
Let’s say, that people were slaughtered in batches of 60 or 100 persons at one time, in the case of Cambodia, 1.8 million people were victimized and they couldn’t have killed them without this process of dehumanization. Yet, it was not only the victims who were dehumanized, but also the slaughterers themselves.
And when you try to bring back peace and restore memories, efforts should not be made only by the victims of the genocide. An effort of the memory must be made by both sides. This cannot be accomplished on ones own. The victims should not be the only ones to shoulder the burden of the task of retrieving memories.
There is also something that is quite astonishing. Ask those S21 slaughterers a simple question, “How many people did you kill?” and there will be no answer. It is not because they don’t know. It is because giving the answer is impossible for them.
Because what they had to destroy were the enemies and those enemies to be destroyed probably held no human traits for them any more. Perhaps in their eyes, even their appearance might not have been one of a human being.
From the filmmaker’s side, this was all very complicated for me. When they were sharing with us their daily routine at S21, it somewhat seemed as if there was no more meaning in life. S21 was an extremely strange world. That is to say, even if you asked them how many people they had killed, they wouldn’t reply with answers like “I killed 4” or “I killed 10”. Since there was no answer to such questions, I couldn’t continue my research in that direction.
Let me give one example. There was a scene in which I asked them a question. When I asked them “Did you often go there?” they would answer, “Yes I went there often.” Still, they couldn’t remember how many people they killed. Here is the reason; the memory of their first time killing was clear, however, when it was repeated 200 times, 1,000 times…then, the memory would not remain any more. There is no difference in saying that the 1,000 slain had no identity at all.
It is something difficult to explain, but if they killed only one person, they might remember whether the person was a man or a woman, what the name was, what the time was, or about the moment of their killing. However, when it comes to 1,000 or 10,000 persons, then, they cannot remember anything anymore and it becomes unimportant. Now, 30 years have passed but it is the same thing to say how many people were killed or to simply cite the numbers.
That is to say, when we are just referring to the number of the slain without mentioning their respective histories and names, they are not treated as human beings and thus the process of dehumanization is still at work today, weighing on us even after 30 years. That is why I think the work of documentation is very important. With Houy, he also cannot say how many people he had killed. He said by himself “as I killed for the first time, second time…and then after that, I started to feel nothing anymore,” “I could no longer sense the smell of blood”.
This is the work of eliminating people. The same was true with the case of the Rwandan genocide. Such terms as “murder,” or “killing” were not used. Instead, they used to employ the term “Couper: to cut”. They used to use the term “cut,” just like they say cut the trees, cut the leaves, or cut the branches.