The Act of Killing

In Rhinebeck
Last Show Thursday
Sept 20 – 26___
Fri 4:30
Sat 4:30
Sun 8:10
Mon 8:10
Tues 8:10
Wed 5:45
Thur 5:45
(Denmark, Norway, UK / 2012 / Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, Anonymous)
Unrated / 116 mins. 
A revelatory exploration of the line between film and real-life violence, The Act of Killing enlists Indonesian paramilitary leader Anwar Congo and his band of followers to re-enact their lives in the style of the film noirs, musicals and westerns that they love.
When the government of President Sukarno was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar and his cohorts joined in the mass murder of more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese and intellectuals. Unlike other nations where the perpetrators of genocide have been brought to justice or disgraced, in Indonesia the killers stayed in power, wrote their own triumphant history and became role models for millions of young paramilitaries to this day.  In a documentary Werner Herzog calls one of the most “powerful, surreal, and frightening” he’s seen in a decade, director Joshua Oppenheimer urges the aging gangsters to recreate their acts on an elaborate scale – using prosthetics, props, drag outfits, and live extras to play their victims. As they grin and mug, movie violence and real-life violence intertwine, and their boastfulness gives way to potent expressions of self-questioning and regret. In English and Indonesian with subtitles.

“It’s often said of documentaries that they deserve to have as wide an audience as possible. This doesn’t deserve; it demands – not for what it says about present-day Indonesia or even about its former horrors. But because almost every frame is astonishing.” – Catherine Shoard, The Guardian

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