The Interpellator, The Body-archive, and The Spectral Observer: Uses of the Archives in Rithy Panh’s S21 Trilogy

The aim of this paper is to analyse the uses of the archives as deployed in three films by Rithy Panh: Bophana: A Cambodian Tragedy, S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine and Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell. Starting with the French intellectual debate about representations of the Shoah that fall in two opposite camps articulated around Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Lanzmann concerning the use of photographic and audiovisual archives to represent totalitarian mass killings, the intention is to show how Rithy Panh bypasses this polarisation in his films using the archives with three main functions: the interpellation-archive, the body-archive, and the spectral archive.