Joshua Oppenheimer’s stellar documentary The Act of Killing was one of the most uniquely cinematic films of last year. Documenting the modern day mass murderers that partook in a 1965 Genocide in Indonesia, Oppenheimer challenged them to recreate their murders on film in different genres. What resulted was an introspective study on guilt, truth and the power of storytelling. It’s a real shame it didn’t take home the Oscar.
Now news has surface that he is actually working on a followup to the film, and that it will be hitting the festival circuit soon. Apparently this has been the plan all along, and in a recent interview with Oppenheimer at The Dissolve, he revealed who The Look of Silence will follow.
The Act of Killing was never meant to stand alone; it’s always been the first film of a pair. This new film is about a family of survivors who come to find out who killed their son in 1965 in Indonesia, through my work with the first 40 perpetrators I filmed before I met Anwar. The youngest brother in this family was born after the killing, and conceived by his mother as a replacement for his dead brother. So he grew up with this terrible burden, in a family that’s been terrorized into silence. He now has children of his own, and they’re going to school and being brainwashed that all this that happened to their family was their fault, and that they deserved it, and he’s no longer able to abide that silence. He’s determined to break it, and he goes and confronts all of the men involved with killing his brother. And they react with fear, with threats, with anger. If there’s any hope, it’s in the next generation… how they react. Although some of them also react with fear, threats, and anger.
Corroborating this bit of info, Screen Daily has reported that the film is currently in the final stages of post production and will be ready to hit the festival circuit this Fall. The Act of Killing was absolutely unforgettable, and I’m very excited to see the other perspective of all this from the victims of the genocide and see how both these films speak with each other.