North Island College’s Institute of War and Peace will present a screening of The Act of Killing this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Stan Hagen Theatre (NIC’s Comox Valley campus).
Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, the film documents the 1965-1966 Indonesian genocide that killed an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 accused leftists, intellectuals, and ethnic Chinese, a genocide that is rarely talked about in Indonesia and is not taught in the history books.
The film is so sensitive within Indonesia that the 60+ Indonesian crew members on The Act of Killing are credited as “Anonymous” for fear of retribution. Filmmakers fear that, if submitted to the government-run film board, the documentary would likely be banned and subsequent screenings would invite violent attacks by paramilitary groups.
Instead, The Act of Killing was released within Indonesia via www.actofkilling.com, where local viewers can download the 159-minute director’s cut for free from a site exclusively geo-blocked for Indonesia.
Said Oppenheimer: “The history of the 1965 genocide belongs to the people of Indonesia, and for that reason it has always been our intention to give the film to all Indonesians.”
In this chilling and inventive documentary, executive produced by Errol Morris (The Fog of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), the filmmakers examine a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to re-enact their real-life mass-killings in the style of the American movies they love.
Shaking audiences at the 2012 Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals and winning an Audience Award at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, The Act of Killing is an unprecedented film that, according to the Los Angeles Times, “could well change how you view the documentary form.”
The Daily Mail states, “This might be the most important documentary ever.” The Guardian describes the film as “the most compelling thing you’ll ever see…almost every frame is astonishing.”
All are welcome and there is no charge to attend.
— North Island College