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Joshua Oppenheimer has spent 14 years in Indonesia, interviewing survivors of a 1965 purge of alleged communists that killed up to a million people. He co-directed the 2012 film Act of Killing (my interview with Oppenheimer about that), which focused on commandos and militia leaders who bragged about the killings. Oppenheimer got them to open up under the guise of helping them make a film about their “heroic” actions.
His latest, Look of Silence (my review) is a companion piece, if much different, tonally, focusing on the victims. If Act of Killing was lurid and macabre, even freewheeling, The Look of Silence is somber, weighed down by ghosts of the past. It’s heavy, even oppressive. As Oppenheimer says, it’s “a film about memory and oblivion.”