“The Act of Killing” director Joshua Oppenheimer talks about uncovering Indonesian genocide

“I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade. The Act of Killing is unprecedented in the history of cinema.” – German filmmaker Werner HerzogI began seeing this blurb on director Joshua Oppenheimer’s controversial new documentary The Act of Killing when the film premiered at the 2012 Telluride and Toronto International Film Festivals last September. This same quote popped up again in the latest Walker Art Center cinema brochure earlier this month, and it’s quite a statement from a filmmaker who has made some important documentaries himself over his 45+ years in filmmaking.Herzog (Grizzly Man) and Academy-Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Fog of War) both saw early footage of Oppenheimer’s film and signed on to be executive producers in order to help this film be seen. This inventive and provocative documentary is about Indonesia’s genocide in 1965, wherein Indonesian President Sukarno’s government was overthrown by the military. Anyone who opposed the military dictatorship could be accused of being a “communist” and, therefore, executed by death squads. Many of these death squad officials were previously small-time gangsters and some are considered “heroes” in Indonesia. Continue Reading