DENMARK / NORWAY /UNITED KINGDOM – 2012 – 115 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN INDONESIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
A FILM BY JOSHUA OPPENHEIMER
Nominated for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature
In this chilling and inventive documentary executive produced by Errol Morris (The Fog Of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), THE ACT OF KILLING examines a country where killers are celebrated as heroes and the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass-killings in the style of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit. Shaking audiences at the 2012 Toronto and Telluride International Film Festivals, THE ACT OF KILLING is an unprecedented film and according to CNN, "could well change how you view the documentary form."
"...evil somehow acquires a fresh face. Naturally, it’s only too terrifyingly human."
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"If a film about genocide isn’t tough, there’s something wrong with it’" - (Interview with Joshua Oppenheimer)
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"Oppenheimer has described THE ACT OF KILLING as “a documentary of the imagination.” But this film goes beyond anything we can imagine."
- THE TORONTO STAR
"When early scenes from THE ACT OF KILLING were shown to filmmakers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, both immediately signed on as executive producers. It's clear they recognized Oppenheimer's genius for what it is. After all, there are documentaries that neatly chronicle events in history, and then there are those that create their own. Ultimately, THE ACT OF KILLING is a provocative consideration of murder with one singular question: can you live with it even if you get away with the crime."
- THE NATIONAL POST
"THE ACT OF KILLING may be the most surreal and harrowing doc you see this year..."
- THE GRID
"There’s never been anything like it: a spectacle of genocide dramatized on camera by the perpetrators. 'It’s unprecedented in the history of cinema,' says documentary legend Werner Herzog, who jumped aboard as executive producer after seeing the film, along with Oscar-winning director Errol Morris."
NNNNN! "The results are mesmerizing – and not just because of Congo’s self-aggrandizing and utter lack of remorse. The cameras bring out the worst in all concerned, who think nothing of singing and dancing about mass murder.
- NOW MAGAZINE
"The braggadocio of killers" (Interview with dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)
- NOW MAGAZINE
"Since the Indonesian government idolizes the killers, labelling their actions heroic deeds that helped create the state, it was no easy task for Oppenheimer to get victims of these atrocities to come forward and share their horrific stories. Much worse, the victims couldn't chance contradicting the official government story, implying the "Communists" (Chinese) were monsters that did unspeakable things to justifying a culling. Oppenheimer and his co-directors, Chrstine Cynn and Anonymous (an Indonesian citizen that preferred to go uncredited to protect his/her life), went directly to the source, offering the killers the unique opportunity to tell their story in their own words, utilizing any cinematic style or genre they wished."
"One can't outright refute anything in the film as being completely staged or untruthful, but lines like [~]"Did all the people I killed feel what I was feeling in that scene?" are so spot-on the point of what this film was trying to accomplish that I could only see it as egged on. These are concerns that the film, no doubt, is designed to provoke, and for that, and its many other virtues, it is undeniably essential film viewing."
"This is an incredibly difficult film to sit through due to the subject matter, and it may take days before you finally make a decision about how you feel. It’s because of this fact that people should watch. It won’t be easy, but hopefully in the end, you’ll decide that this was one of the most important documentaries around."
- TORONTO FILM SCENE
"Oppenheimer's work is given an even more surreal kick by virtue of the incredible status still afforded to members of the killing squads, politically-connected goons who openly boast of their murders to anyone within earshot, including the film crew."
- FILM FREAK CENTRAL
"It’s like nothing that’s ever been attempted on film, and likely could never be replicated."
- DORK SHELF
"Director Joshua Oppenheimer has delivered a work of uncompromising horror and staggering originality. Its importance as art is matched only by its truly formidable significance as a document of humanity amidst a collection of the most repugnant individuals ever profiled in any film. What Oppenheimer creates is simply and utterly unparalleled."
- THE FILM CORNER
"You’ve never seen anything like THE ACT OF KILLING, a documentary in which mass murderers re-create their crimes, making a film to show how people were garroted or beheaded, and an entire village was once massacred: women raped, children tortured, men killed."
"Joshua Oppenheimer on THE ACT OF KILLING" (Audio Interview)
- CBC Day 6
OFFICIAL SELECTION - Toronto International Film Festival, 2012
"I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade... it is unprecedented in the history of cinema."
- WERNER HERZOG
"THE ACT OF KILLING could well change how you view the documentary form."
- LOS ANGELES TIMES
"A radical development in the documentary form and as an explosive journalistic expose."