The Act of Killing (Oppenheimer, 2012)

The Act of Killing


The Act of Killing could have been extremely dangerous if mishandled. When director Joshua Oppenheimer was unable to tell the story of Indonesia’s 1960s genocide from the perspective of its survivors due to the danger in which he would place them, he instead chose to tell it from the perspective of its perpetrators: the death squads that murdered as many as one million so-called communists between 1965 and 1966, and who Indonesia now celebrates as war heroes. Focusing on a handful of movie-obsessed gangsters and finding that they were more than willing to divulge every detail of the atrocities they committed, Oppenheimer suggests he gives them the means to make a film of their deeds/ The result is one of the most surreal, dizzying, and, eventually, harrowing making-of documentaries ever recorded.