The Act of Killing

Pacific Film ArchiveThu, May 2, 2013 8:55 PM Not Available
AMC Kabuki CinemasSat, Mar 1, 2014 2:00 PM - 3:56 PM Not Available
AMC Kabuki CinemasSat, Mar 1, 2014 9:15 PM - 11:11 PM Not Available
Film Info
Premiere Status:Denmark
Year of Prod:2012
Running Time:116
Original Language:Indonesian
dir:Joshua Oppenheimer
prod:Signe Byrge Sørensen
Joram ten Brink
Anne Köhncke
Michael Uwemedimo
Joshua Oppenheimer
Christine Cynn
Torstein Grude
Bjarte Mørner Tveit
scr:Joshua Oppenheimer
cam:Carlos Mariano Arango de Montis
Lars Skree
editor:Niels Pagh Andersen
Janus Billeskov Jansen
Mariko Montpetit
Charlotte Munch Bengtsen
Ariadna Fatjó-Vilas Mestre
mus:Elin Øyen Vister
source:Drafthouse Films
612A E 6th Street
TX 78701

“I know a good location for a torture scene,” says an aging movie buff early in The Act of Killing. Like a demonic location scout, this self-professed gangster and notorious death-squad chief leads the way to a site of atrocity haunted by the ghosts of his victims. At once a horrifying history lesson, a riveting portrait of unrepentant evil and a shocking treatise on the widespread influence and malleable meanings of American cinema, Joshua Oppenheimer’s flabbergasting documentary recounts the Indonesian genocide of the mid-1960s, when paramilitary forces obliterated millions of suspected communists, left-wing intellectuals and other enemies of the fascist state. A handful of perpetrators, never brought to justice, recall the good old days of moviegoing and murder, claiming to have modeled their sadistic behavior on the violent American gangster flicks they watched at local theaters. Hoping to rewrite their corruption-riddled country’s past while glorifying their own psychopathy, the men brazenly reenact their heinous crimes in a film-within-the-film, donning costumes and starring in flamboyant productions in which fact and fantasy queasily merge. Oppenheimer and his crew—many of whom must remain anonymous to ensure their safety—have created an astonishing work. As legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog, one of the film’s executive producers, says, “I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal and frightening in at least a decade…It is unprecedented in the history of cinema.”
-Steven Jenkins

Additional Information

Joshua Oppenheimer

Born in Texas in 1974, Joshua Oppenheimer studied at Harvard and at Central St. Martins in London. He serves as senior researcher for the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Genocide and Genre project, and for more than a decade has worked with militias, death squads and their victims to investigate and represent the relationship between political violence and public imagination. Oppenheimer’s award-winning films include The Globalization Tapes (2003), Land of Enchantment (2001), The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (1998) and These Places We’ve Learned to Call Home (Golden Gate Award winner, SFIFF 1997).