DP/30: The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer
- first plan (commissioned work in 2001), documentary about plantation workers dying with a poisonous substance they were forced to use by Belgium companies (it was dissolving the liver of the women at work, dying in their 40's). unions are illegal, the biggest problem is fear. union workers, their ancestors, were pointed out as communists and killed in the 60's (work camps, death camps); the unions were then erased from society (its also about our complicity, once we consume products done in these exploitative conditions)
- then, the will of coming back to Indonesia in order to document what actually happened in the 60's. Oppenheimer started working together with some victims that survived the genocide, but noticed that they were still under control and authorities would permanently intervene and block the collaboration between them.
(proposal of PHD to be able to support the project, ?)
- survivors would sometimes directly refer to their neighbors 'he killed my mother...'; Oppenheimer started looking for contact with the perpetrators and actually all of them would be quite open about their active role in the killings (...)
- the question around the documentary started shifting. the film around the survivors turned out to be very hard, threat of imprisonment, it started then to turn around the killers;
- intimidating? perpetrators would assume the killings as the base of their career achievements. they would be promoted by the measure of their involvement in the murderers
- nervous? needed to be 'poker faced and calm' in order to stay safe and go on with the work. the victims stimulated him continuously to go on, to record, to film, the perpetrators.
- shift of question. not anymore about what happened, but more about what is happening nowadays. how can this situation happen? what is their own picture of society, history and themselves (...) then Oppenheimer got to the point of questioning directly the perpetrators about what they think and feel. excused by the system to be able to live with it. 'kill is the worse you can do, but if it pays well...' 'if you are very insecure about it, actually not believing much in this public excuse, then you tend to over celebrate it, to exaggerate whatever you are told to be positive about it'
- scene man on the roof. after showing how he killed innumerous people there he starts dancing 'he must be in total denial about what he has done' 'I'm such a good dancer because I would go out very often and dance and take drugs and forget what I had done, so that I wouldn't go crazy'
- he knows that is wrong, but he doesn't dare to face it. He cannot face it. 'instead of speaking about it he just points out to trivial things, like that his clothes are wrong, his hair is wrong'
- purpose of the film, tool for Indonesians, to be able to talk about what happened and work it out. for the rest of the world too, once we live out of the work of people threatened by this kind of criminals. we need it and we deceive ourselves about it too. Hugo boss or anonymous slave.
- precisely because is false, it becomes real? (21:31); re-enactment. what is the value of fiction. turns disaster into something pretty. action, war, movies.
- storytelling. organization of our world. to justify our actions. we oppress each other (...) that's how we are (...) we depend on violence (...) we need to fiction it in order to digest it (???)
- Herman, he was not in the killings, but he did eventually kill in his military career. Herman loved acting. loyalty to truth. experiment with moral reality. Anwar is vulnerable to what Herman brings in. Herman displays the truth through fiction.