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Brilliant and devestating look into the depths of human malevolence
THE LOOK OF SILENCE (Joshua Oppenheimer) 103 minutes. Opens Friday (July 24). See listings. Rating: NNNNN
In Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to his brilliant 2012 documentary, The Act Of Killing, optometrist Adi travels through Indonesia discussing the 1965 military coup that enabled the slaughter of 1 million suspected Communists with patients who either deny their involvement or rationalize it into nothingness.
In the previous film, Oppenheimer allowed his subjects to literally shape their memories into movies, which gave the experience a slight ironic distance and allowed the disconnect between the perpetrators’ self-mythologizing and their monstrous deeds to sink in slowly.
The Look Of Silence puts no such veil between us and the unnerving, horrific sight of human beings pleasantly explaining how their complicity in mass murder is not such a big deal since they were in the right. Instead, Oppenheimer cuts to Adi’s face as he struggles to repress the same disbelief and disgust we’re feeling.
The cumulative effect is simply devastating.
See our interview with director/producer Joshua Oppenheimer here.