The Act of Killing

5 stars/10 votes You didn't vote yet!
Actul de a ucide

Denmark / Norway / UK, 2012, 159'

The Act of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer

Hate is Bad for your Health


“It is forbidden to kill. Therefore, all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers, and to the sound of trumpets,” reads the motto to The Act of Killing. Unlike countries such as Rwanda or Cambodia, Indonesia has seen no truth and reconciliation commissions, no trials, and no memorials for victims of past crimes. Throughout the thirty-two years of General Suharto’s military-backed government, the country sanitized its bloody history through an official narrative that glorified its 1965-66 purges which saw around one million of alleged communists murdered by bloodthirsty militias. Here is a country where killers are praised on TV for having developed a ‘more humane, less sadistic system for eliminating communists’. They know from experience how a human body reacts when losing life, and will casually offer advice such as ‘trousers should be thick for killings”. They do not care about human rights, as they have learnedt that war crimes are always defined by the winners.

Described by his authors as a "documentary of the imagination", The Act of Killing explores this untouched chapter from Indonesia’s history by inviting a group of former "communist-killers" to re-enact their infamous acts for the camera, in the style of the films that allegedly inspired or catalyzed them. A surreal, emotionally exhausting examination of human atrocity and accountability, the film follows one individual’s therapeutic journey from exposing, through performance, the darkest corners of his soul towards understanding the full horror of his acts. The film also invites us to reflect on the implications of the collective choice to ‘forget’ whole chunks of the historical past. The listing of a whole set of contributors to the film as a generic ‘Anonymous’ points to the risks taken by those willing to speak openly about that murderous, still unsettled past.


13 March, 20:00, Cinemateca Eforie

16 March, 17:00, Studioul Horia Bernea




English, Romanian


Final Cut for Real ApS


ZagrebDox Movies That Matter Award, Croatia, 2013
Ecumenical Prize, Berlin International Film Festival, Germany, 2013
Audience Award for Best Documentary, Berlin International Film Festival, Germany, 2013
Critics Prize for Best Feature Film, Istanbul Independent Film Festival, Turkey, 2013
FICUNAM Audience Award for Best Feature Film, Mexico, 2013
Dox Award, CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012

Telluride Film Festival, USA, 2012
Toronto International Film Festival, Canada, 2012