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The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing

(The Act of Killing) Director: Joshua Oppenheimer, DK, 2012, Indonesian / English and Czech subtitles, 115 min

In 1965, the army took power in Indonesia by force. Prior to that, small players in the local underworld, thieves or debt collectors, had been given a task by soldiers: kill communists. Their death squads and regime representatives murdered more than a million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese and intellectuals. Danish filmmakers have now solicited the former leader of these units in an attempt to portray their rampage in a feature film and document the process. Anwar and his comrades bring the past to life in stylised scenes, celebrating the “liberated” souls of dead communists, interrogating victims dressed as gangsters from 1950s Hollywood movies or roaming the prairies, mowing down enemies like the conquerors of the Wild West. The shooting of the film attracts the local media and the resuscitation of the unresolved past leads to mixed reactions on the part of Indonesians. The murderers joke about their actions on TV and are the celebrated guests of state officials. The Act of Killing offers a chilling insight into the minds of mass murderers and a probe of the society they helped create.


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