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ACT OF KILLING, The

Denmark / Norway / UK, 2012 (MIFF 2013, Documentaries)

Director: Anonymous,Christine Cynn,Joshua Oppenheimer

ACT OF KILLING, The

"Powerful, surreal and frightening … unprecedented in the history of cinema."  Werner Herzog

In this bizarre and unsettling film, Joshua Oppenheimer presents a chilling picture of a land where mass murderers are celebrated on TV talk shows as heroes. It sounds like a fiction but it's not: the film's subjects  small-time gangsters (themselves ardent fans of film and pop culture) who became death-squad leaders during the anti-Communist purges following the 1965 Indonesian military coup  were never punished; instead they took power and have become role models applauded for their actions, allowing Oppenheimer the remarkable opportunity to film them gleefully re-enacting their kills in an increasingly elaborate and high-budget film of their own. Playing themselves and their victims, they are forced to confront their actions for the first time.

Produced over nearly a decade, with late help from Errol Morris (Tabloid, MIFF 2011) and Werner Herzog (Into the Abyss, MIFF 2012), The Act of Killing is a richly compelling look at the fictions inherent in truth and the truth found within fiction.

"Unforgettable, unmissable, horribly brilliant ... almost every frame is astonishing."  The Guardian

D Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, Anonymous P Signe Byrge Sørensen, Joram Ten Brink, Anne Köhncke, Michael Uwemedimo, Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, Anonymous Dist Madman Entertainment L Indonesian, English w/English subtitles TD DCP/2012

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© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

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