Denmark-based director Joshua Oppenheimer first traveled to Indonesia a decade ago to make what would eventually, and at first unknown to him, become a set of two companion docs: “The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence,” both Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary Feature.
With an artful cinematic eye, Oppenheimer scrutinizes the anti-communist Indonesian purge of 1965 in both films. Where “The Act of Killing” turned to the perpetrators with unanswerable questions, 2014 Venice Grand Jury Prize winner “The Look of Silence” 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.
READ MORE: Review: Tragi-Comedy “Act of Killing” Confronts the Killer Inside
In our interview at last year’s SXSW, the smoothly phrased filmmaker—who was born in Austin—and MacArthur fellow digs into untangling the many complications of making this extraordinary film, including 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 caused a sea change in present-day Indonesia.
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