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‘Meeting With Pol Pot’ Review: Reality Unravels in Rithy Panh’s Haunting Historical Fiction

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variety.com

Siddhant Adlakha A chilling historical drama rendered with impeccable sleight of hand, Rithy Panh’s “Rendez-vous avec Pol Pot” (“Meeting With Pol Pot“) reveals its political dimensions through layers of obfuscation.

While based partially on real events (and on the writings of American war journalist Elizabeth Becker), it crafts a fictitious tale of three French journalists attempting to interview Cambodian dictator Pol Pot in 1978.

Although its outcomes echo the real experiences of Becker, Scottish academic Malcolm Caldwell, and American reporter Richard Dudman, the film is as much about a specific moment in time as it is about the mechanics of propaganda, which it refutes and embodies in equal measure.

A narrow 4:3 frame introduces the movie’s analogues for Becker, Caldwell, and Dudman, who make their approach by air in the hopes of exposing the opaque Cambodian regime.

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