SFIFF '15 These 2 films, this one and THE ACT OF KILLING, are relentless, and a story all the more horrifying because it is an aspect of the history of humanity. You say you don't like genocide? Me neither, but a lot of folks think it is the right thing to do, and it happens every day, and not usually for profit, but because people believe it will make their world better. Or they just don't want to make waves.
The content is sickening and the filmmaking is not much better. Sick of entrapment-filmmaking. This is Shoah all over again. Harassing people for the purpose of art. Ethically revolting. He's selling glasses in order to extract them information? Is this a documentary or getting even to settle the score? The worst however is the way the perpetrators shrug when hearing the truth. His mother meeting the survivor?Cried:/
Making a reverse shot with his pitiful previous film, the victims get out a rigorous voice and the film loses the kitsch behaviour towards its subject (s), winning in its investigation format an unsuspected density. Though we still don't get to know which is his "look" - and how he films the father it's obscene - the silences and reactions that are stubbornly filmed outweigh the previous fair of attractions.
Silence? We are not really looking at silence in Oppenheimer's excoriating documentary. Primarily we are looking at the seat formerly occupied by silence, and it is unspeakably powerful to do so in this manner. Everybody living in anything like comfort is living in the society of the victor. Standing aside and watching another culture's victors confront the return of a repressed should cause us all a moment's pause.
A companion piece to ACT OF KILLING, this followup balances the horrors of the Indonesian death squads (depicted via grotesquely boastful interviews by the killers themselves) with unexpected acts of forgiveness by a family whose eldest son was tortured and then butchered during the "people's revolution" against alleged communists. Scenes with the disabled father and his loving wife deserve its own movie.
Oppenheimer keeps advertising his career exploiting grotesque humor with a culprit compliance envied by every VICE editor. A white knight unsaddled by a misdirected crusade, charging a target that enshadows the bigger threat.