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The Act of Killing

Denmark | 2012 | 115 minutes | Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, Anonymous

Powerful and surreal. For over forty years, the leaders of Indonesian paramilitary death squads have considered their acts of genocide heroic. This flabbergasting documentary follows these notorious murderers as they brazenly re-enact their heinous crimes with B-movie panache.

May 18, 2013
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May 22, 2013
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Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer travelled to Indonesia in an attempt to find surviving victims of the 1960s death squads who were willing to talk on camera. Fear kept many of them silent, but there were others who were happy to tell stories of that time: the former leaders of the death squads. Anwar Congo and other paramilitary gangsters murdered over a million alleged Communists, and still consider themselves heroes for their actions. Fans of Hollywood movies, these unrepentant killers take their reminiscence a step further, staging dramatic re-enactments of their crimes that include film noir tropes, elaborate musical numbers, and heroic cowboys. The resulting film is a startlingly original documentary, a hallucinatory fever dream, and an unsettling journey deep into the shocking banality of evil. As Anwar begins to confront his actions on screen a surprising change begins to occur. The weight of history becomes evident, and the edifice of genocide as a "patriotic struggle" begins to fall apart. After viewing an early cut, directors Errol Morris and Werner Herzog signed on to help complete the film, with Herzog exclaiming, "I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade...it is unprecedented in the history of cinema."

Director Biography
Joshua Oppenheimer is Senior Researcher on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Genocide and Genre project. He was born in Texas and studied at Harvard and Central Saint Martins, London.Christine Cynn has been directing documentary and experimental films for 14 years. She was a researcher on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Genocide and Genre project, as well as a founding member of the Vision Machine Film Project in London. Due to the nature of the film, the many Indonesian collaborators have been grouped into ‘Anonymous.’

Sponsored in part by Delta Air Lines

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, Anonymous
Country: Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom
Year: 2012
Running Time: 115 minutes
Producer: Errol Morris, André Singer, Joram ten Brink, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Torstein Grude, Joshua Oppenheime
Screenplay: Joshua Oppenheimer
Cinematographers: Lars Skree, Carlos Arango de Montis
Editors: Niels Pagh Andersen, Janus Billeskov Jansen, Mariko Montpetit, Charlotte Munch Bengtsen, Ariadna Fat
Music: Elin Øyen Vister
Website: http://www.theactofkilling.com/
Awards: Berlin 2013 (Audience Award, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury); Danish Film Academy’s Award 2013 (Best Documentary); One World Film Festival 2013 (Best Film); CPH:DOX 2012 (Grand Jury Prize)
Filmography: Joshua Oppenheimer: The Globalization Tapes (2003); Christine Cynn: The Globalization Tapes (2003); The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (1998)
Language: Indonesian
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: DCP
US Distributor: Drafthouse Films
International Sales: Danish Film Institute
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