The Act of Killing


115 min minutes

The Act of Killing is a shape-shifting documentary exploring the horrifying history of Indonesia, where government-approved paramilitary organizations exterminated between 500,000 and a million "Communist dissidents" over a single year. The year was 1965, and when director Joshua Oppenheimer took his camera to Indonesia, he found a good number of former executioners alive and well and happy to talk about their role. How you feel about watching unrepentant killers boast about their bloodletting will determine how you feel about most of this film. A tiny moment of justice comes when, after reenacting his victim’s role in one of his “greatest hits,” one man is left literally gagging and deeply shaken. But then he goes home to his loving family. (DAVID SCHMADER) Whoa. All you need is IMDB’s description: “A documentary that challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.”

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Film Credits
Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, Anonymous
SIFF 2013