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2,777 Ratings

The Act of Killing

Denmark, Norway, 2012


This award-winning documentary blends realty and fantasy as a film crew propositions a group of former Indonesian death squad leaders to recreate their shocking mass killings in lavish, opulent detail.

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The Act of Killing Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn

Awards & Festivals

Berlin International Film Festival

2013 | 2 wins including: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (Panorama Dokumente)

Academy Awards

2014 | Nominee: Best Documentary, Features

What makes the three-hour-long The Act Of Killing disturbing and yet engaging is the way the story is told… The film asks [the killers] to re-enact their homicidal practices for the camera, and pushes the blood-drunk further into the realm of phantasmagoria, complete with musical numbers and horror soap operas. The effect is like watching two murderers in a confession box at an asylum.
February 11, 2016
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Oppenheimer calls his film “a documentary of the imagination.” I’d call it a brilliant intervention, and it’s no accident that two other pioneering interveners, Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, executive produced both The Act of Killing and Oppenheimer’s upcoming companion piece, The Look of Silence.
June 24, 2015
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While Oppenheimer’s film has been praised for its self-reflexive demonstration of cinema’s tortured relationship with truth – self-reflexivity having long ago been elevated as the hallmark of cinematic sophistication – its meta-cinematic gestures in fact serve the opposite purpose, underscoring the deceptions of fiction film in order to valorize the naive documentary image.
September 01, 2014
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