Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it. — Oscar Wilde
I have referred to Joshua Oppenheimer earlier on this site but tonight, Thursday September 3, and through this week-end will be an extremely rare chance to watch both films on the big screen (it is the premiere of The Look of Silence in St. Louis).
Besides being produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, Oppenheimer has stated at various times that he has also been influenced in his recent films by such renowned filmmakers as Claude Lanzmann and Robert Bresson, and one of his teachers, Dušan Makavejev.
AND the film is helping make changes in Indonesia!
Just to remind some of you, besides being nominated for an Academy Award Oscar, The Act of Killing has won more awards and critical praise than most films ever receive. The link above will substantiate this.
Instead of writing a regular review of “The Look of Silence” – I will only mention that it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival – it is better NOT to say too much about the things we care about.
There is nothing worse than to introduce a film by saying it is great.
Life hits us without any warning, and that is the way it should be with great works. We should be quiet and let them speak for themselves. All I will add is that Joshua Oppenheimer is very far from being “just a filmmaker.”
You are welcome to write on this site after having seen the films – and I would recommend you watch the discussion below AFTER having watched both films.
From the Webster University Program
Thursday, September 3 at 7:30PM
THE ACT OF KILLING
(Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012, Indonesia, Denmark, Norway, UK, 115 min.)
In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leader Anwar Congo and his friends to dramatize their role in genocide. But their idea of being in a movie is not to provide testimony for a documentary: they want to be stars in their favorite film genres—gangster, western, musical. They write the scripts. They play themselves. And they play their victims. This is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit. The film is in Indonesian with English subtitles.
Weekend, September 4, 5, & 6 at 7:30PM
THE LOOK OF SILENCE
(Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014, Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, United Kingdom, 99 min.)
Through Joshua Oppenheimer’s work filming perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide (The Act of Killing, 2012), a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother’s murder – something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power. The film is in Indonesian with English subtitles.