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  1. #1
    I am in Jail

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    The Act Of Killing - film review

    The Act Of Killing - film review - Film - Going Out - London Evening Standard

    A devastating, surreal must-see about leaders of the death squad that killed a million Indonesians in which we see genocide authoritatively re-enacted on camera by its actual perpetrators



    In 1965-66, in Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, the army led a savage purge of the communist opposition, in which approximately a million people were murdered, often after being tortured, mostly by local militias and vigilantes. This massacre has never been well reported or studied, partly because the regime which instigated it, led by General Suharto, remained in power for the next three decades.

    Joshua Oppenheimer, an American director in his late thirties who lives in Europe, has been making documentary films in Indonesia since 2004, initially with the survivors of the genocide. He then realised that the perpetrators of these killings were not just still boasting about them but would be delighted to act them out in front of the camera.
    Anwar Congo, a leader of Indonesia’s repellent Pancasila Youth paramilitary movement, and his obese, intimidating sidekick, Hermann Koto, are proud to be gangsters and killers, repeatedly claiming that makes them “free men”.
    Having previously been cinema ticket touts, they love Hollywood movies and are chuffed to make a film with Oppenheimer celebrating, as they see it, their genocidal exploits. “The whole world will see this,” they rejoice on a vile, sycophantic Indonesian chatshow. “London, England — forget Jakarta, Jakarta’s nothing!”
    So they recreate for the film-maker exactly how they torched a village and raped and murdered its people. Congo demonstrates the method he used to kill a thousand victims — strangling them with a wire, with one end tied to a post and the other to a piece of wood.
    They perform the most grotesque musical number ever, Born Free, in front of a waterfall, with simpering dancers, Congo in priestly robes, Koto, a cross-dresser, in a lurid satin ballgown. Their victims, casting off the wire with which they have been strangled, pin a gleaming medal on Congo and effusively thank him “for executing me and sending me to heaven, I thank you a thousand times for everything”. Watching this on playback, Congo is entranced. “This is good, Joshua, this is very good — I never imagined I could make something so great.”
    So these goons expose themselves utterly — and we see genocide authoritatively re-enacted on camera by its actual perpetrators. It’s thus both a performance and a document. The Act of Killing is a film with shocking news for us, not just about Indonesia but human nature. It’s one of the most gruelling and disturbing films you will ever see but, if you want the truth, essential.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat Mr Earl's Avatar
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    Sounds pretty awful. I think I'll download some Teletubbies instead.

  3. #3
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    Sad thing is it True!
    Australian Politicians have been warned last week not to upset the Indonesians,
    there a touchy lot our Northern Neighbors

  4. #4
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    The movie, ' The Year Of Living Dangerously' was made when i was out there and it documented the same theme as the anti - commi. situation became so bloody.
    I really thought the movie brilliant being young and un-educated about the recent history of Indo. at my time there.
    Worth a look, scenery shots are superb of the rolling landscapes and Mel G. was pretty good in his role.

  5. #5
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    Fluke , OP - Sorry mate i just re-read your piece and realised you are talking of actual people involved in the slaughters, i thought you meant a movie.
    Terrible time and not far short of the sickness of the Khmer Rouge, it has been said many times about mans inhumanity towards their fellow men and how true.

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