The Act of Killing Cert. 15 Picture house at FACT

  • Released2013
  • Running time122 minutes
  • DirectorChristine Cynn, Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous

Following the Indonesian military coup of 1965, paramilitaries helped the army to massacre more than a million alleged communists in less than a year. To this day, these shocking acts are portrayed domestically as a patriotic struggle, and their perpetrators are celebrated as national heroes.

Documentarist Oppenheimer’s attempts to tell the tale of the genocide’s survivors were obstructed by the Indonesian authorities – but the killers themselves proved happy to appear on film. He invited the perpetrators to stage filmed re-enactments of their killings, with a twist: they would be performed in the style of their favourite Hollywood genre films.

The incredible result is a hallucinatory journey into the minds of mass killers, and a staggering testament to the frighteningly banal culture of impunity they continue to inhabit.

"I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal and frightening in at least a decade." – Werner Herzog

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