Anwar Congo and his friends have been dancing their way through musical numbers, twisting arms in film noir gangster scenes, and galloping across prairies as yodelling cowboys. Their foray into filmmaking is being celebrated in the media and debated on television, even though Anwar Congo and his friends are mass murderers.
Medan, Indonesia. When the government of Indonesia was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar and his friends were promoted from small-time gangsters who sold movie theatre tickets on the black market to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year. As the executioner for the most notorious death squad in his city, Anwar himself killed hundreds of people with his own hands.
The Act of Killing is a journey into the memories and imaginations of the perpetrators, offering insight into the minds of mass killers. The film is a nightmarish vision of a frighteningly banal culture of impunity in which killers can joke about crimes against humanity on television chat shows, and celebrate moral disaster with the ease and grace of a soft shoe dance number.
"The most compelling thing you'll ever see" - The Guardian
"Like no movie seen before" - The Financial Times
"Shatteringly powerful" - The Sunday Times
"Simply the best film of the year" - The Metro
2013, region 2 DVD, 115 minutes.
In this seventh collection of essays, performance activist and writer Guillermo Gómez-Peña, artistic director of San Francisco based company La Pocha Nostra, appraises the role of the artist in an intellectually...