Joshua Oppenheimer's acclaimed breakout documentary The Act Of Killing, executive produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, will open in New York on Friday, July 19, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. on Friday, July 26, with additional markets to follow. This chilling and inventive documentary examines a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to reenact their real-life mass-killings in the style of the American movies they love. A standout at top international film festivals—including Telluride, Toronto, New Directors/New Films, and Berlin (Panorama Audience Award and Ecumenical Prize)—the film will make its Los Angeles premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
When the Indonesian government was overthrown in 1965, small-time gangster Anwar Congo and his friends went from selling movie tickets on the black market to leading anti-communist death squads in the mass murder of over a million people. Anwar boasts of killing hundreds with his own hands, but he's lived in his country with impunity ever since. When approached to make a film about their role in the genocide, Anwar and his friends eagerly comply—but their idea of being in a movie is not to provide reflective testimony, but to dance their way through musical numbers, twist arms in film noir gangster scenes, and gallop across the prairies as yodeling cowboys. A cinematic fever dream, The Act of Killing presents a gripping conflict between moral imagination and moral catastrophe.
"Since our acquisition of The Act of Killing, not only are we thrilled at the reception and awards that the film has garnered at Toronto, Telluride, Berlin, SXSW, New Directors/New Films amongst others, we are gratified that the film continues to leave audiences as shaken as we were when we first saw it," says Drafthouse Films Creative Director Evan Husney.
"When Werner Herzog says a film is the most frightening and most surreal he's seen in at least a decade, you know need to steel yourself... Almost every frame is astonishing."
–Catherine Shoard, The Guardian
“A truly unique and original film, at once astonishing, seductive and diabolical... It really is one of the best and most important documentaries I've ever seen.” –James Marsh, Director, Man On Wire