The chilling and groundbreaking documentary The Act Of Killing has earned an overwhelmingly positive critical response since its official premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The Guardian said its "the most compelling thing you'll ever see," adding "almost every frame is astonishing." The Los Angeles Times praised the film by saying "it could well change how you view the documentary form."
Executive Produced by documentary titans Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, who both speak at length about their involvement with the film in this video interview by VICE, The Act Of Killing examines a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes and challenged to reenact their real-life mass-killings in the style of the American movies they love.
Director Joshua Oppenheimer interviewed 41 former Indonesian executioners (all of which participated in the murder of over 1,000,000+ people from 1965-66) before zeroing in on Anwar Congo. In the clip above, Oppenheimer's "protagonist," eagerly displays how he systematically executed alleged "communists," in the exact spot where he committed the murders almost 50 years prior. And then, he begins to dance the Cha Cha. It was with this exact moment that Oppenheimer decided to follow Congo for The Act Of Killing and engage him in a series of hallucinatory, cinematic recreations where he would play himself and his victims. The result is a startling look deep into the subconscious of a perpetrator and how he ultimately want the world to perceive him.
The Act of Killing hits theaters beginning July 19 in New York City with an exclusive run at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema and will be rolling out to over 30 cities in subsequent weeks. Additional cities and ticket info can be found here: actofkilling.com.