In a place where killers are celebrated as heroes, these filmmakers challenge unrepentant death-squad leaders to dramatize their role in genocide. The result is a surreal, cinematic journey, not only into the memories and imaginations of mass murderers, but also into a frighteningly banal regime of corruption and impunity.
The synopsis is available elsewhere and I have no idea how to review a film like this so here are a few simple lines: I have never seen anything remotely like this and would go as far as to say that it is one of the most honest portrayals of several aspects of the human psyche I have ever experienced in any medium. It's not a pleasant film but I can't give it any less than full marks for its bravery, arrogance and honesty when dealing with an uncomfortable aspect of our species.
Joshua Oppenheimer (dir.) understands the social norms of his subjects' environment and also their own egos and greed, shows us so that we also understand and then uses all he has learned to get them to openly reveal all directly to the audience, pretty much by luring them. It's obvious that with the backstory and footage used he already had more than enough for a documentary film and it seems as though he thought 'I have a better plan' and then made this film instead, in the ultimate quest for knowledge. Beyond words and essential.
Note: There is a companion to this called 'The Look of Silence', which is a different type of film altogether and one that sheds much extra light onto the the events of this time and place but from a different perspective and this is also recommended, albeit not as strongly.
Final Cut for Real, Piraya Film A/S, Novaya Zemlya, Spring Films by Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn.
Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin.
Genres: Documentary, Biography, Crime
Keywords: corruption indonesia genocide indonesian genocide political documentary social & cultural documentary
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