Although the film’s glacial pacing is sometimes off-putting there is a purpose behind Oppenheimer’s lingering close-ups and Adi’s rambling interviews for this is both a search for objective truth and a yearning for some degree of personal closure. Adi listens dispassionately as his aging subjects defend their actions while their families, many of whom had only a dim idea what was taking place, look on uncomfortably. At other times he stares stone-faced at taped interviews in which retired commanders gleefully describe the proper way to chop off a head or disembowel a woman. One such man angrily rebukes Adi’s prying into the past while the younger optometrist fits him for a pair of glasses as if the new lenses might somehow force him to see the past more clearly. But it is Adi’s interactions with his parents which give the film it’s deepest sense of tragedy for his octogenarian mother can’t stop remembering Ramli’s final hours while senility has caused his 103-year old father to forget he even had a son.
This is the "companion" of the more famous film called The Act of Killing by the same people. Both are really remarkable. In The Look of Silence you see something that rarely happens, especially on film: someone whose brother was murdered confronts the murderers. And, more broadly, the film confronts a whole nation that sanctioned this murder and hundreds of thousands more. Amazing cinema. Werner Herzog is a fan.
A very slow - almost tedious - film of a man talking to those involved in the murder of his brother (who died before he was born). Those who did it are free and some have official positions; they don't seem to be cognizant of what they're talking about until the conversation is pressed a little too far, at which point they have numerous reactions: threats, backtracking, denials, throwing up their hands, etc., but none take a few more steps.
What is most sad are commenters like JCLMartyJ below, who use that cognitively dissonant phrase: speaking truth to power. [As if this somehow matters.] Those who relish this insane phrase, are the same ones who support Hillary Clinton for president, HRC having been endorsed by mass murderer, Henry Kissinger, whom she professes great admiration for [East Timor, anyone?]!
During the Eisenhower administration, thousands were killed when a CIA-financed coup failed [oil and minerals]. During the Kennedy Administration, JFK negotiated a deal between Sukarno and the oil companies [the Rockefellers' Stanvac and Caltex], with no bloodshed or violence - - after the assassination of JFK, this deal went by the wayside, and President Johnson sent in the CIA again, and their rivers ran red with blood. Somewhere between one-half million to over one million lives were lost in the death holocaust.
Speak truth to power by finally voting third party in 2016!
Amazing and moving. Watch the Act of Killing first to get a solid background. I think it made the movie more impactful to have a more detailed knowledge of what the government sanctioned killers were doing and thinking.
Given the subject matter of this documentar, I dreaded watching it. Although it was gut- and soul-wrenching, it was also surprisingly and paradoxically uplifting. It beautifully demonstrates the ripple effects of speaking truth to power -- even 40+ years after the anti-communist massacres. Viewers will be touched by the courage of Adi (the brother of one of the men massacred by killers who still live in their village) and the love that exists between his mother and him. A powerful film that shows how justice can (and sometimes does) prevail.
It's a powerful, slow film, hypnotic through the steady portrait of a country's silence after horrendous acts were committed. The interviewees tell their version of events and you get the sense Adi Rukan and Jason Oppenheimer are in a dangerous position making this film. Many metaphors if you can catch them. Really an interesting piece of work.
This film was almost to hard to watch to the end for me. I just sat there in disbelief. Not only have the men who tell about their atrocities a great laugh about it but they are also convinced that drinking their victims blood kept them in good health so far... They live side by side with the victims' families who are intimidated into silence and life goes on. Please watch the interview with Joshua Oppenheimer in Special Features.
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