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.
"Look of Silence" is a great title for this movie, for many reasons
The Look of Silence is such a brilliant title for this movie. For one, it's a good description of Adi's reaction when hearing about the murder of his brother. (And it's oddly fitting that he is an optometrist). It's also a description of the response they get from the perpetrators, refusing to show any guilt or remorse, preferring to pretend that it never happened. And that seems to be what Oppenheimer is tapping into in Indonesia, the look of silence, and what really lies behind it.
This is definitely a companion piece to the previous "Act of Killing". Not because it does not stand on its own, which it does, but because they stand so much stronger together. Each documentary has an unique perspective on some mutual themes. Especially guilt and remorse.
It's amazing how it all comes together in a movie like this. Oppenheimer must have done a lot of work for this. Adi is such a good subject for a documentary like this, and having him being willing to explore this dark side of his nation's history, and openly talk to the people who brutally murdered his brother - it's such an unique way to explore all of this. And Adi does a really good job with it all.
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