The Act of Killing, the 2013 documentary about the political and criminal genocide in Indonesia in the 1960s, and the ongoing unchecked abuses of power by government “thugs,” has achieved international recognition. One of the most haunting films of the year, we discuss the filming, political and cultural factors of the genocide, impact and making of the film (featuring footage) with director Joshua Oppenheimer on this full length BYOD interview.
Watch new episodes of BYOD live each week on Tuesdays at noon on TheLip.TV, or tune in for the archived replay starting here on the following Thursday.
BYOD is hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice. Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi shares her insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
Joshua Oppenheimer has worked for over a decade with militias, death squads and their victims to explore the relationship between political violence and the public imagination. Educated at Harvard and Central St Martins, London, his award-winning films include THE GLOBALIZATION TAPES (2003, co-directed with Christine Cynn), THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE (1998, Gold Hugo, Chicago Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival), THESE PLACES WE’VE LEARNED TO CALL HOME (1996, Gold Spire, San Francisco Film Festival) and numerous shorts. Oppenheimer is Senior Researcher on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Genocide and Genre project and has published widely on these themes.
00:01 Welcome to BYOD.
00:14 Introducing The Act Of Killing, by Joshua Oppenheimer.
02:45 The shooting of the film and origin of the film.
08:44 The Act Of Killing, Trailer.
11:00 Anwar and the film within a film.
14:10 The Act Of Killing, clip: Anwar showing how he killed.
16:25 Denial and refusal of guilt during filming.
20:00 American movies importance in Indonesia.
21:40 Super criminals and thugs running for office.
23:00 About today through the ghosts of 1965.
24:20 The Act Of Killing, clip: Old Photos.
25:20 The gangsters motivations for killing, and ongoing ethnic extortion.
29:05 The reaction from the people in the film.
34:45 The victim’s response to the perpetrators that are still in power.
37:51 The Act Of Killing, clip: The winner writes history.
39:00 Parallels between the US and Indonesia-then and now.
44:40 The Act Of Killing, Clip: Cruelty and the image.
46:50 A huge breakthrough moment on the film.
51:20 The changing lives of the ‘thugs.”
56:25 The Act Of Killing, clip.