The Act Of Killing

The Act of is a nightmarish vision of a frighteningly banal culture of impunity in which killers can joke about crimes against humanity on television chat shows, and celebrate moral disaster with the ease and grace of a soft shoe dance number.

“But there was too much blood. There was so much blood here … So when we cleaned it up, it smelled awful. To avoid the blood, I used this system. Can I show you…?” Anwar Congo, The Act Of Killing

When the government of Indonesia was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar Congo and his friends were promoted from small-time gangsters who sold movie theatre tickets on the black market to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year, often with the most basic tools – wire, bricks, furniture.  Today, living the lives of heroes, free of any charges or a troubled conscience, they agree to tell their stories on camera.  But their idea of being in a movie is not to provide testimony for a documentary: they want to star in the kind of films they most love from their days scalping tickets at the cinemas. And so Anwar and his friends develop fiction scenes about their experience of the killings, adapted to their favorite film genres – gangster, western, musical. They write the scripts. They play themselves. And they play their victims.

The Act of Killing is truly unlike any documentary.  It is a nightmarish vision of a frighteningly banal culture of impunity in which killers can joke about crimes against humanity on television chat shows, and celebrate moral disaster with the ease and grace of a soft shoe dance number.

AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

aa bf sja

 

No Comments

Post a Comment