Danish director Joshua Oppenheimer first infiltrated Indonesia’s death squads in Oscar-nominated “The Act of Killing,” which now has a companion piece in “The Look of Silence.” This impressive documentary is also an emotional workout that won the 2014 Venice Grand Jury Prize, and is up for a documentary Producers Guild Award. (“Act of Killing,” a 2014 DGA and Oscar nominee, surely still lives in the heads of awards voters.)
In this film, he movingly asks one man, the brave Adi whose eyes reflect wells of sadness, to confront the horrifying atrocity that wiped out his brother — and hundreds of thousands of innocent others in the Indonesian anti-communist purge of 1965. This scene shows Adi question his mother about what it’s like to live among her son’s unpunished killers.
Back at SXSW, the erudite MacArthur fellow talked to us about this extraordinary film, how he gained the trust of both the killers and victims, how the filmmakers basically had to disguise their identities at every turn and how the film has made sea changes in present-day Indonesia. Watch below.