Film Micrœview #242: The Look of Silence (2014)

10.05.2015 § Leave a comment

The Look of Silence

Rating: Dr. Pepper.

Joshua Oppenheimer has tapped into a wellspring of humanity in Indonesia, everything amazing from the wonderful to the horrifying.

Unlike The Act of Killing, his previous feature doc, this is less sensational, less about media, revolution, sweeping forces of history. It is more about what it’s like to be neighbors with other folks like yourself, except that 50 years ago they killed members of your family in a genocide, and remain on the winning side of history locally. The film is still rooted in the insane psychology of the killers, their repression, rationalization, righteousness, etc. But in an answer to criticisms of the previous installment – that he focused on the story of the killers rather than the victims – here Joshua has gone beyond telling the victims’ story, and empowered them to confront their neighbors, ask tough questions, find some peace, know they’re heard, stare into the souls of these people who have done terrible things. I would need to watch this again to find the space in my viewing experience to contemplate the effect this film may have in Indonesia itself.


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