An Indonesian man with a communist background named Ramli was brutally murdered when the "Communist" purge occurred in 1965. His remaining family members lived in fear and silence until the making of this documentary. Adi, a brother of his, decided to revisit the horrific incident and visited the men who were responsible for the killings and one survivor of the purge. These meetings uncovered sadistic details of the murders and exposed raw emotions and reactions of the killers' family members about what happened in the past - much to Adi's disappointment.
According to Joshua Oppenheimer, this film is the first film with the main country is from Indonesia that nominated for an Oscar, and the second film that used Indonesian language (Bahasa) that nominated for an Oscar. See more »
What support did you have from the Army?
Amir Hasan - Former Leader of Death Squad:
They waited at the road with the truck. They didn't come down here. They never came down here. They called this, 'The People's Struggle.' So, they kept their distance. If the Army was seen doing this, the world would be angry. 'The Army is killing Communists!' So, to protect their image they made it look like the people exterminated the Communists. But everybody knows the Army was behind it.
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It's hard to "review" a movie like "The Look of Silence". You don't really watch it and evaluate it like you do anything else. You bear witness.
I have never been able to write anything about its prequel, "The Act of Killing". I broke my rule of reviewing every movie I watch on here because I just wasn't up to the task. Watching that movie, and "The Look of Silence" to a slightly lesser extent, was like being dosed with heroin and hit with a sledgehammer. The usual "disturbing" movie, documentary or otherwise, has an impact that can be shaken off eventually. With "The Act of Killing", I never really felt it, but I knew it was there. It took something from me. The impact bled through into my day to day life. It wasn't just like a bad dream. It was real.
Here is "The Look of Silence". It gives a different side of the story that "Act of Killing" presented, through the son of survivors of the Indonesian genocide. He learns about the fate of his older brother, killed two years before his birth. Then he confronts some of the killers and their families, though these meetings don't go as you might expect, especially for the son, Adi.
This movie really should be watched alongside "The Act of Killing". Whereas "The Look of Silence" is no less horrible in its descriptions of actual murder, I have a feeling that it is the goodness of Adi and his family you will remember.
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