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A review of the documentary the act of killing

The title says it all.

  • Later, they coach a group of local children in the art of pretending to beg for their lives—an exercise which, not surprisingly, quickly reduces the frightened kids to real tears;
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  • After his labor documentary, The Globalization Tapes , was done, he decided to make another film—one that would allow the killers not only to tell their own stories, but to re-enact them as grisly pageants complete with costumes, makeup, and props;
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  • The killers, though—that was another matter;
  • It seems to flutter about in a detached and episodic manner as the director gains trust and start staging scenes, but when it all comes together the result is some of the most disturbing and revealing documentary footage ever captured.

The fact that the unimaginable delay occurred is unthinkable, but the fact that Oppenheimer was somehow there with a camera to capture it is remarkable. The film will never be described as an easy watch, but it is something that will leave a deep impression on anyone able to see it and should definitely be sampled by those with the stomach to endure.

  1. The film ends, harshly and unforgettably, on the repeated, unproductive dry heaves of a once-prolific executioner who, after watching himself play the part of his own victim in a mob movie-style re-enactment, has begun—maybe—to grasp that his actions all those years ago ended dozens of lives just as real and human as his own. Given the nature of the material and how it was captured, the movie is by necessity meandering.
  2. He offered the chance to film detailed recreations of the murders and surprisingly a few of the tyrants bit.
  3. Following a military coup, President General Suharto sanctioned the killing of communists and a witch hunt began.
  4. Nearly 50 years later, they still wield enough local power that when they set out to recruit extras for a house-burning re-enactment, few of the terrified townspeople dare to turn them down.
  5. In fact, they still thrive in the country today and many even hold major positions of political power. After his labor documentary, The Globalization Tapes , was done, he decided to make another film—one that would allow the killers not only to tell their own stories, but to re-enact them as grisly pageants complete with costumes, makeup, and props.

Hit the jump for the details. Following a military coup, President General Suharto sanctioned the killing of communists and a witch hunt began.

  • Get Slate in your inbox;
  • The film will never be described as an easy watch, but it is something that will leave a deep impression on anyone able to see it and should definitely be sampled by those with the stomach to endure;
  • Later, they coach a group of local children in the art of pretending to beg for their lives—an exercise which, not surprisingly, quickly reduces the frightened kids to real tears;
  • Hit the jump for the details;
  • Nearly 50 years later, they still wield enough local power that when they set out to recruit extras for a house-burning re-enactment, few of the terrified townspeople dare to turn them down;
  • The Act Of Killing is an undeniably remarkable documentary heralded by Werner Herzog and documentary master Errol Morris before release and admitted into festivals with their names attached as executive producers.

Gangsters and hoods were given cushy government positions and within a year over a million people were murdered, often as the result of allegation or connection and without evidence. The people responsible for the disgusting crimes were never punished.

  • But Oppenheimer soon found that his subjects were afraid to tell their stories publicly—an understandable fear, given that many of the men who had murdered their family members still hold powerful positions in their community;
  • The killers, though—that was another matter;
  • Advertisement The Act of Killing was filmed in the town of Medan in North Sumatra, where its two chief subjects, Anwar Congo and Herman Koto, were among the most feared executioners during the purge;
  • The film ends, harshly and unforgettably, on the repeated, unproductive dry heaves of a once-prolific executioner who, after watching himself play the part of his own victim in a mob movie-style re-enactment, has begun—maybe—to grasp that his actions all those years ago ended dozens of lives just as real and human as his own;
  • But Oppenheimer soon found that his subjects were afraid to tell their stories publicly—an understandable fear, given that many of the men who had murdered their family members still hold powerful positions in their community;
  • He offered the chance to film detailed recreations of the murders and surprisingly a few of the tyrants bit.

In fact, they still thrive in the country today and many even hold major positions of political power. The director approached these killers with an ingenious concept that would allow him to thoroughly interrogate them about their communist liquidation.

He offered the chance to film detailed recreations of the murders and surprisingly a few of the tyrants bit. Specifically, Anwar Congo is both immensely proud of his past and a movie buff anxious to bring it to life with glitzy production values and a cast of involuntary extras.

Congo is thrilled at the thought of reenacting his crimes, immediately recruiting a team of friends and locals to participate and even dying his white hair black to play his younger self.

The scenes in which Oppenheimer shoots these reconstructions are stunningly bleak. Children are whipped around and told to cry like they did in the actual events.

Remarkably, the recreations actually cause Congo and co. At one point they worry that the recreated mass slaughter of a village is a little over the top and violent, but eventually concede that it did happen that way and maybe should have value.

That Oppenheimer somehow managed to capture those moments with a camera is remarkable and the footage is devastating.

TIFF 2012: THE ACT OF KILLING Review

Given the nature of the material and how it was captured, the movie is by necessity meandering. It seems to flutter about in a detached and episodic manner as the director gains trust and start staging scenes, but when it all comes together the result is some of the most disturbing and revealing documentary footage ever captured.

The Act Of Killing is an undeniably remarkable documentary heralded by Werner Herzog and documentary master Errol Morris before release and admitted into festivals with their names attached as executive producers.