For anyone out there who still thinks animation, as a medium, is just for kids, I’d like to introduce you to Funan. The upcoming GKIDS release comes from co-writer/director Denis Do in his feature directorial debut and is a deeply personal tale from Do’s own family history. The tale tells of a Cambodian family who finds their idyllic lives turned upside down by the emergence of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1970s. What follows is a harrowing tale of survival and sacrifice, and a portrayal of man’s inhumanity to man.
Funan is an incredible film, one which uses animation to its benefit to tell the incredibly difficult story in ways that a traditional live-action tale simply wouldn’t be able to do. The title itself comes from the name that ancient cartographers were said to have given to the region, but the story is much closer, within living memory, and within a very personal proximity to Do and his family. Keep an eye out for my interview with Do in the weeks ahead, and be sure to make time for this tough but necessary film, arriving in theaters this summer.
Watch the official trailer for Funan below:
NY opens on June 7 at IFC Center.
LA opens on June 14 at Laemmle Glendale
More dates and locations to come.
More info: FunanMovie.com
And here’s the official synopsis:
Cambodia, April 1975. Chou is a young woman whose everyday world is suddenly upended by the arrival of the Khmer Rouge regime. During the chaos of the forced exile from their home, Chou and her husband are separated from their 4-year-old son, who has been sent to an unknown location. As she navigates her new reality, working in the fields day and night under the careful watch of soldiers, and surviving the small indignities and harrowing realities of the increasingly grim work camps, Chou remains steadfast in her determination to reunite her family – even if it means risking everything.
Winner of the top prizes at the Annecy Animation Festival and the Animation is Film Festival, Funan is a searing and remarkable debut from filmmaker Denis Do, who uses his own family history as inspiration for a thrilling story of love, loss and enduring hope in the most trying of times. Featuring the voices of Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) and Louis Garrel (The Dreamers).