The Act of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer's surreal, astonishing documentary recreates the atrocities of 1960s Indonesian death squads.

The film pushes boundaries of documentary and especially debates around the ethics of the film. 

This page offers links to related articles around the film. Please reflect on some of these debates and issues in your Research, 

Joshua Oppenheimer acknowledges a debt to John Pilger's film on Indonesia, 'New Rulers of the World' (2001) which, he says, "was very important to me as I tried to understand the situation."

In 2015 Joshua Oppenheimer returned to the subject with his follow up film 'The Look of Silence'

Film website:

'True surrealism: Walter Benjamin and The Act of Killing'. An Essay by Carrie McAlinden for BFI/ Sight & Sound. 'How Joshua Oppenheimer’s lurid incursion into Indonesia’s past horrors incarnates Walter Benjamin’s philosophies of historical awakening. A new essay on our film of the year.'

HISTORY not His Story

"To the Brothers in the street, Schools and the prisons
History shouldn't be a mystery
Our stories real history
Not his story
We gonna work it one day."

Public Enemy - Brother's Gonna Work it Out

Links to reviews, articles, commentary and related films... 

'Sympathy with the Devil' - Jerry Whyte. Analysis / Review of 'The Act of Killing' film with great links and background info. 

Reviews and commentary by Mark Kemode, Peter Bradshaw and others in The Guardian, who awarded 'The Act of Killing' their film of 2013.

Tony Rayns Review: The Act of Killing. BFI/ Sight & Sound. "Brave and unconventional Joshua Oppenheimer’s exposé of Indonesia’s bloodstained rulers may be; it’s also suspect – formally, historically, emotionally and conceptually."

The Act of Killing: don't give an Oscar to this snuff movie - Nick Fraser (Guardian) - "It has won over critics but this tasteless film teaches us nothing and merely indulges the unrepentant butchers of Indonesia". 

To get more insight on Joshua Oppenheimer's frightening and otherworldly documentary "The Act of Killing," we spoke to executive producers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris about the making of the film and how important it could be for the future of documentary cinema.

'BYOD' interview/ documentary with with director Joshua Oppenheimer. 'We discuss the filming, political and cultural factors of the genocide, impact and making of the film (featuring footage) with director Joshua Oppenheimer on this full length BYOD interview.'

In 2015, returned to the subject with 'The Look of Silence'