The Act of Killing
The Act of Killing is about killers who have won, and the sort of society they have built.When the government of Indonesia was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar Congo and his friends were promoted from small-time gangsters who sold movie theatre tickets on the black market to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year. As the executioner for the most notorious death squad in his city, Anwar himself killed hundreds of people with his own hands.Today, Anwar is revered as a founding father of a right-wing paramilitary organization that grew out of the death squads. The organization is so powerful that its leaders include government ministers, and they are happy to boast about everything from corruption and election rigging to acts of genocide.
Unlike ageing Nazis or Rwandan génocidaires, Anwar and his friends have not been forced by history to admit they participated in crimes against humanity. Instead, they have written their own triumphant history, becoming role models for millions of young paramilitaries. The Act of Killing is a journey into the memories and imaginations of the perpetrators, offering insight into the minds of mass killers. And the film is a nightmarish vision of a frighteningly banal culture of impunity in which killers can joke about crimes against humanity on television chat shows, and celebrate moral disaster with the ease and grace of a soft shoe dance number.
(The text is taken from http://theactofkilling.com/synops/)
Born in 1974, USA, Joshua Oppenheimer is recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” (2015-2019), and has worked for over a decade with militias, death squads and their victims to explore the relationship between political violence and the public imagination. Oppenheimer’s debut feature-length film, The Act of Killing (2012, 159 min and 117 min), was named Film of the Year in the 2013 Sight and Sound Film Poll and won 72 international awards, including the European Film Award 2013, BAFTA 2014, Asia Pacific Screen Award 2013, Berlinale Panorama Audience Award 2013, and Guardian Film Award 2014 for Best Film. It was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary, and has been released theatrically in 31 countries. His second film, The Look of Silence (2014, 99 min), premiered in competition at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it won five awards, including the Grand Jury Prize, the international critics award (FIPRESCI Prize) and the European film critics’ award (FEDEORA Prize). Since then, The Look of Silence received the prestigious Danish Arts Council Award, and played at Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival (Cinephile Prize for Best World Documentary), and the Copenhagen Documentary Festival (Grand Prize).