The Look of Silence
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer

Joshua Oppenheimer’s critically overpraised 2012 documentary The Act of Killing introduced us to some of the men behind the mass murder of Indonesian communists in the 1960s. This companion piece gives a voice to the victims, which was glaringly missing from the first film. A 44-year-old optometrist goes around the region to talk to the killers, who are now old men in need of an eye check (is the director telling me something?). During the process, he learns the grim fate of his older brother, who was stabbed, mutilated and thrown in the river. He also hears how the killers drank the blood of their victims so they could go on butchering without going insane. Oppenheimer’s overlong and snail-paced second film offers more of the same, casual depiction of gory details without any emotional impact. The perpetrators show no signs of remorse, their families are proud rather than shocked, and the relatives of the victims do not seem that affected either. Oppenheimer keeps churning out documentaries, but the entire sociopathic nation would rather just forget the whole event.