The Act of Killing

115 Minutes - Director Joshua Oppenheimer

The screening last night of “The Act of Killing”, a documentary by American filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer about the mass killings of 500,000 or more communists – and “supposed communists” – in Indonesia in 1965-66, was a riveting experience. The unique aspect of the film was that Oppenheimer interviewed the perpetrators of the widespread vigilante killings – and actually got some of them to reenact their death squad experiences, along with actors playinig their victims. These killers said it still “felt like it was the single most important thing they’d ever done…and they were celebrated for it.” One of the killers was Anwar Congo, who says he was responsible for the murder of at least 1,000 men, women and children. He is still haunted by the ghosts of those he claims to have killed “as humanely” as possible. Oppenheimer says he has created “a documentary of the imagination…revealing how society sees them and how they want to be perceived.” Oppenheimer was concerned the film would be banned in Indonesia, but to date, the film has had 500 screenings and is available for free download in the country, despite its controversial nature. AFTER THE SCREENING THIS QUESTION/ANSWER HAPPENED… Oppenheimer recently stated in an interview “My hopes are that Indonesians take and show this film and use it to tell stories, break the silence and never go back and find the courage to stand up and hold their politicians accountable… However, I can't go back to Indonesia to shoot another film. Indonesians are open and wonderful - I love Indonesia and this is in fact my love letter to Indonesia.” The Act of Killing opens on July 26, 2013.