The Act Of Killing: The Most Powerful, Surreal and Frightening Film In A Decade

As a pitch to members of a death squad who committed murder on an industrial scale, “why don’t you recreate the killing of innocents and we’ll film it for my documentary” is a novel one.

It could also be called foolhardy, considering the kind of men filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer proposed the idea to.

For Anwar Congo and the infantry of the pro-regime paramilitary group Pancasila Youth were responsible for the deaths of more than a million alleged Communists, ethnic Chinese and intellectuals in Sixties Indonesia.

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But, up for a spot of drama, Congo and company were even going as far as Oppenheimer’s second suggestion: that they act out the killings and torture in their favourite cinematic styles; this, in turn, a reference to the fact they took their killing cues from cinema.

The resulting film, The Act of Killing, sees revelation follow a series of ever-bigger re-enactments in what documentary demigod Werner Herzog has called the most “powerful, surreal and 
frightening” film in at
 least a decade.

 

 


 

The Act Of Killing is out June 28th.