Jul 18, 2013 Film & TV
Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer
As disturbing as the content is, this documentary is a must-see of the festival. Joshua Oppenheimer challenges executioners in Indonesia’s death squads of the 1960s to re-enact their crimes for his camera and our two friendly gangsters are only too happy to oblige. Far from being ashamed of their brutality, they have hero status, appearing on television chat shows and at political rallies, one even runs for Parliament.
Through straight interviews, surreal roleplaying and incongruous musical numbers, the true horrors of the slaughter of a million people come to light, and the toll on the perpetrators slowly does too. Hold on to your jaw — the surprises in The Act of Killing will make you question your comprehension of humanity. And the last scene has to be one of the most astounding in cinema of all time.