O.P.E.N. films #3. 

  • The Act of Killing (Director’s Cut) by Joshua Oppenheimer. 

It was a wonder to see the death squad leaders re-enacting “Crush All Communists” tragedies willingly and happily even. 

Reopening the case of Indonesia’s history, this documentary sheds light on the gangsters or “free men” that carried out killings that wiped out one million people in the name to rid communism from their land. Genocide. 

For moments, I felt so strongly for these individuals – sometimes sympathy, sometimes pure disgust. It seemed like the decisions they made were all they knew how. Is that a valid excuse though? Do they even need an excuse? 

Call them heroes. Call them murderers. Call them what you will. 

But this documentary will show you that they do have hearts. 

They do suffer. They might have unspoken regrets. They might seem to delude themselves into thinking what they did was right to avoid being haunted for the rest of their lives. 

Beyond the “cinematic fever dream” these men sought to pursue, revealed a painful truth and stripped them of all facade. 

  • The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer. 

Sister film of The Act of Killing, this documentary follows an ophthalmologist named Adi on a mission to get answers from the genocide leaders. 

The confrontation and the tension kept me on the edge of my seat. After all, Adi does not ask surface and simple questions. He wants something they cannot give – the truth, the responsibility and the burden of the genocide. 

And with Adi’s older brother dying one of the most cruel deaths throughout the genocide, the stakes were even higher. 

It was an extremely heavy watch with my heart sinking deeper with every minute.

The documentary left me with so many questions about morality, responsibility and the endless struggle for power, riches and status. The cruelty and the lies said without a blink of an eye. 

Absolutely mind-blowing and a reflection of what we have become. 

– 

These two films left such an impact on me. Just watching these two almost back-to-back was so much for the heart to handle, and to think that this is the reality of some is unbelievable.

Please take the time to watch these documentaries. You will not regret it. Really. 

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