Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Act Of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary about Indonesian death-squad leaders, is a punch to the gut. It’s also controversial: Some critics have argued that Oppenheimer’s focus on gangster/mass murderer Anwar Congo silences survivors by emphasizing the perpetrators’ experiences, reinforcing the victims’ continued lack of agency.

Advertisement

But, as we previously reported, Oppenheimer’s subject is actually a two-part project, and The Look Of Silence tells the other half of the story. In the new film, Oppenheimer revisits the Indonesian massacre, shifting the focus of the narrative to a family confronting their son’s murderers. But that doesn’t mean it will be any more satisfying than its predecessor, as Oppenheimer has stated his aversion to painting a virtuous, clichéd portrait of the embittered survivors. “Presenting survivors as saintly in order to reassure ourselves that we are good is to use survivors to deceive ourselves,” Oppenheimer says in a statement. “It is an insult to survivors’ experience, and does nothing to help us understand what it means to survive atrocity, what it means to live a life shattered by mass violence, and to be silenced by terror.”

The Look Of Silence is coming to select U.S. theaters on July 17th.

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter