This week we discuss Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing, now in theaters. It follows a group of gangsters in Indonesia, who were responsible for many of the killings in the anti-Communist purge of 1965–1966. Oppenheimer has given them the opportunity to make a film re-enacting the violence, a device which Daniel finds more effective than Chris. We’ll address its implications, and whether The Act of Killing really has anything new to offer. Then we address the charges that Oppenheimer did not include enough historical context, as well as Errol Morris‘s contention that documentaries should not simply be filmed versions of books.
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- Chris’s interview with Joshua Oppenheimer.
- Daniel’s thoughts on Hannah Arendt.
- Benedict Anderson’s essay, Impunity and Reenactment: Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia and its Legacy.
- Errol Morris’s essay on the film, The Murders of Gonzago.
Watch the Films: