Funan follows in the footsteps of Persepolis and Grave of the Fireflies

Director Denis Do’s film about the Cambodian genocide is a deeply personal one.

The mainstream perception that animated films are intended for children still make films like Persepolis, Grave of the Fireflies, and the newly released Funan come across as anomalies. The medium would seem to lend itself to lighter fare to the point that when it’s used to tackle war and inherited trauma, it comes as an innate shock.

Filmmaker Denis Do, born and raised in France, is of mixed French, Chinese, and Cambodian heritage, and drew upon his mother’s memories of living under the Khmer Rouge regime, as well as nearly two decades of research, to write Funan. Elegantly and simply animated, the film still conveys that weight, depicting the horrors of the Khmer Rouge revolution without coming off as exploitative or otherwise gratuitous.

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