Act of Killing

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Denmark/Norway/UK | 2013 | Documentary | Indonesian w/English subtitles
Run Time: 120 minutes
Film source: Drafthouse Films
Sponsors: Planet Hardwood & Burlington College

Act of Killing

You have never seen a film like this one. Director Joshua Oppenheimer interviews the leaders of Indonesian death squads, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of millions of Communists, leftists and ethnic Chinese in 1965 and 1966. But he doesn’t just interview them. As the ambiguous title of the film suggests, he lets them re-enact their crimes and even invites them to write, perform and film skits dramatizing their murders in the style of the American movies they love. This film is about the power of moviemaking and storytelling, sometimes cathartic, sometimes destructive, always illuminating. And, incredibly, you will also find yourself laughing occasionally.

Director’s statement: The film is fundamentally about how we as human beings use storytelling to create our reality, to justify our actions, and to cope, or to escape from even our most bitter and painful truths. We can commit any kind of crime if we have a story to justify it.


Audience Award – Berlin Film Festival