The Act of Killing - A Film by Joshua Oppenheimer
"The Act of Killing is about killers who have won, and the sort of society they have built."
Joshua Oppenheimer: "I have developed a filmmaking method with which I have tried to understand why extreme violence, that we hope would be unimaginable, is not only the exact opposite, but also routinely performed. I have tried to understand the moral vacuum that makes it possible for perpetrators of genocide to be celebrated on public television with cheers and smiles. Some viewers may desire a formal closure by the end of the film, a successful struggle for justice that results in changes in the balance of power, human rights tribunals, reparations and official apologies. One film alone cannot create these changes, but this desire has of course been our inspiration as well, as we attempt to shed light on one of the darkest chapters in both the local and global human story, and to express the real costs of blindness, expedience and an inability to control greed and the hunger for power in an increasingly unified world society. This is not, finally, a story only about Indonesia. It is a story about us all."
Spiegel Online: "The Act of Killing": Wenn Mörder Opfer spielen
"The Act of Killing" ist trotz seiner ungewöhnlichen Erzählstruktur kein Experiment, wie oft behauptet wird. Seine Machart ist eine bewusst gewählte Methode der Wahrheitsfindung und Ausdruck des moralischen Rigorismus seines Regisseurs. Für Oppenheimer, dessen Familie zum Teil im Holocaust umkam, sind Mörder keine Monster, sondern viel schlimmer: einfach Menschen in außergewöhnlichen Situationen. Das Böse, es ist für ihn eine schreckliche Realität, überall auf der Welt."
Perlentaucher: Ohne Scham oder Reue
"Anwar Congo selbst sieht sich, später, mit seinen Enkeln gemeinsam die Aufzeichnung seiner gespielten Folterung an, und zwischen aufblitzenden Momenten des Erkennens und vielleicht sogar einer Form von Reue ist immer wieder jene Form von Stolz auf die eigenen Untaten zu erahnen, die vielleicht die erschreckendsten Eindrücke dieses ungeheuren Films prägt."
Jakarta Post: "Why Indonesia should embrace ‘The Act of Killing’"
"The real outrage - and surely of far greater pain to the victims - is that the 1965 genocide hasn’t even been acknowledged. To make matters worse, the official narrative in Indonesia surrounding the events of 1965 remains one of blatant lies and historical distortions...
So Indonesia faces a clear choice: It can slide deeper into the very real landscape of fear and impunity portrayed in TAoK, or it can treat the film as a wake-up call and insist at the polls on the kind of enlightened, honest leadership it deserves.
Oppenheimer has handed a massive gift to Indonesia in the form of some hard medicine to heal its historical wounds and to right some of its greatest wrongs."
indiewire: Werner Herzog and Errol Morris Talk About One of the Most Chilling Films Ever Made, 'The Act of Killing'
BBC online: Act of Killing director says he can't go back to Indonesia
"The Jakarta Globe quoted Teuku Faizasyah, the presidential spokesman for foreign affairs, as saying: "The film portrayed Indonesia as backwards, as in the 1960s. That is not appropriate, not fitting. It must be remembered Indonesia has gone through a reformation. Many things have changed."
At the BAFTAs [British Academy of Film and Television Arts], Oppenheimer said the government's response had been "inadequate", but acknowledged it marked a change in the official line on the killings.
Until that moment the government has maintained the genocide was something heroic and to be celebrated," he said."
Reuters: FEATURE-Oscar-nominated documentary scrapes at raw wound in Indonesia
"It's a tragedy and we, just like anybody else, despise those in the movie and the reenactment of the atrocities. These people don't belong in Indonesia today," said presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah.
He added: "It requires a lot of revisiting but ... I don't think we are
mature enough (yet) as a nation."
filmmakermagazine: The Act of Killing Wins Documentary BAFTA; Director Oppenheimer’s Speech Edited Online
"But one section of Oppenheimer’s speech was omitted from the video, above, that BAFTA posted online. His acceptance speech also included this section:
"I urge us all to examine ourselves, and acknowledge that we are all closer to perpetrators than we like to believe. The United Kingdom and United States helped to engineer the genocide, and for decades enthusiastically supported the military dictatorship that came to power through the genocide. We will not have an ethical or constructive relationship with Indonesia (or so many other countries across the global south) going forward, until we acknowledge the crimes of the past, and our collective role in supporting, participating in, and, ultimately, ignoring those crimes."
JakartaGlobe: Editorial: The Nation Needs an Act of Restitution
"Oscar-winning or not, Joshua Oppenheimer’s "The Act of Killing" has directed worldwide attention to Indonesia’s darkest past, when in 1965-1966 up to a million people were killed in a state-sponsored, systematic butchering. There is no more hiding place for Indonesia. We have to admit our own history, whether we like it or not. We can’t afford to pretend there was no wrong done, as our government and ruling elites have always maintained."
The Wall Street Journal: Indonesian Film Loses Oscar, but Not Twitter Hearts
"Tweets of disappointment flooded Twitter Monday morning after "The Act of Killing" lost the best documentary feature award.
The documentary, about the killing and alleged torture of at least 500,000 accused communists in Indonesia after an attempted coup in 1965, was beaten for the coveted award by an American film about back-up singers, "20 Feet From Stardom."
Some people commented saying that "The Act of Killing" - which has garnered more than 70 accolades, including Best Documentary at the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts - may be too controversial for the Academy.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal via phone, the film’s anonymous Indonesian co-director said that he hopes supporters of "The Act of Killing" won’t be upset by the Oscar decision and won’t stop talking about the film.
"Our initial motivation was not to win an Oscar. We didn’t even expect an Oscar nomination," he said. "I hope that our supporters won’t be too upset about the loss."
Tweeter, March 3, 2014, 3:37 PM, comment from Iwan Meulia Pirous
"Impunity, the US domination, and politics of Oscar. Yet still, bravo the Act of Killing!"
the our winner is... TAoK