My favorite film of 2013 was Joshua Oppenheimer‘s chilling documentary The Act of Killing. For those who don’t know, the movie explored the modern day ramifications of Indonesia’s mass murders during the 1960s by interviewing the executioners and then having them reenact the killings. However, this was not Oppenheimer’s original plan. Before he met with The Act of Killing‘s central figure, Anwar Congo, the movie was about survivors of the killings. In an interview with The Dissolve, Oppenheimer says the new film is about a family of survivors who try to find out who killed their son in 1965 in Indonesia. The story now follows the youngest brother, who now has his own family, confronting the killers.
Hit the jump for more.
Oppenheimer explained to The Dissolve that “The Act of Killing was never meant to stand alone; it’s always been the first film of a pair,” and then talked about the filming process:
From 2003 to 2005, at the request of the human-rights community and Indonesia, I spent two years filming every perpetrator I could find. And so the original archive of material of people who killed this family’s son was shot between 2003 and 2005, but the core of the film—confrontations with the perpetrators, the main character responding to the footage of the perpetrators from 2003 to 2005—I shot after I finished editing The Act Of Killing, but before we released it. Because I knew that after we released the film, I wouldn’t be able to safely return to Indonesia.
According to Screen Daily, Oppenheimer is now finishing the follow-up, entitled The Look of Silence, and “post-production will be done in June and July, for a launch at autumn festivals.” The movie will also be more straightforward as opposed to the reenactments and film-within-a-film approach of The Act of Killing. Per Screen Daily:
The films will each stand on their own but will make strong companion pieces that show “the sum is bigger than the parts,” said producer Signe Byrge Sørensen of Copenhagen-based Final Cut For Real. “It has never been a secret that we wanted to do both perspectives. We just didn’t want them in the same film.”
I understand that there are some who felt The Act of Killing was glorifying the murderers, although I also feel that these critics could not be more wrong. Either way, those who thought that the killers overshadowed the victims in The Act of Killing should be interested to check out The Look of Silence. Personally, I can’t wait to see it.