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REACTIONS


  • QUOTES

    “I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade… unprecedented in the history of cinema.”

    – Werner Herzog

    “Like all great documentaries, The Act of Killing demands another way of looking at reality. It starts as a dreamscape, an attempt to allow the perpetrators to reenact what they did, and then something truly amazing happens. The dream dissolves into nightmare and then into bitter reality. An amazing and impressive film.”

    – Errol Morris

    “If we are to transform Indonesia into the democracy it claims to be, citizens must recognize the terror and repression on which our contemporary history has been built. No film, or any other work of art for that matter, has done this more effectively than The Act of Killing. [It] is essential viewing for us all.”

    ‐ National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia

    “An absolute and unique masterpiece.”

    ‐ Dusan Makavejev

    “The Act of Killing is the most powerful, politically important film about Indonesia that I have ever seen. The arrival of this film is itself a historical event almost without parallel. [It] witnesses the bloody destruction of a foundation of this nation at the hands of Indonesians themselves. On top of a mountain of corpses, our fellow countrymen rolled out a red carpet for the growth of gangster capitalism and political Islam. In documenting this, The Act of Killing exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of this country’s notions of ‘patriotism’ and ‘justice.’ The film achieves all this thanks to the director’s genius and audacious choice of filmmaking method.”

    ‐ Ariel Heryanto, Historian and Cultural Critic, Tempo Magazine (Indonesia’s premier newsmagazine)

    “Every now and then a non-­‐fiction film comes along that is unlike anything else I have seen: Buñuel’s LAND WITHOUT BREAD, Werner Herzog’s FATA MORGANA, Hara’s THE EMPEROR’S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON. Well, it’s happened again. Here, Joshua Oppenheimer invites unrepentant Indonesian death-­‐squad leaders to make fiction films reenacting their violent histories. Their cinematic dreams dissolve into nightmares and then into bitter reality. Like all great documentary, THE ACT OF KILLING demands another way of looking at reality. It is like a hall of mirrors––the so-­‐called mise-­‐en-­‐abyme––where real people become characters in a movie and then jump back into reality again. And it asks the central question: what is real? Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in a Paris Review interview, wrote about reading Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” for he first time, “I didn’t know you were allowed to do that.” I have the same feeling with this extraordinary film.”

    ‐ Errol Morris

    “THE ACT OF KILLING invents a new form of cinematic surrealism.”

    ‐ Werner Herzog



  • IN THE PRESS

    DANISH REVIEWS
    Dorte Hygum Sørensen gives The Act of Killing 6 hearts in the newspaper Politiken.
    Read the review.

    Smagsdommerne on Danish National Television, DR2, calls the film “a masterpiece”.
    Watch the programme.

    Nanna Frank Rasmussen, the newspaper JyllandsPosten – 6 stars.(only in printed version, not online yet)

    Henrik Østergaard, the film magazine Ekko – 5 stars.

    Read the review.

    Jeppe Mørch, Filmcitat.dk – 6 stars.
    read the review.

    Nikolaj Sonqvist, Cinemaonline.dk – 6 stars.
    Read the review.

    Mikkel Skov Pedersen, Modkraft.dk
    Read the review.

    INTERNATIONAL REVIEWS
    “The best, and most horrific, film of this year’s Toronto film festival…every frame is astonishing.”
    – The Guardian
    Read full five-star review

    “Werner Herzog said, ‘I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal and frightening in at least a decade.’ I can’t imagine what Herzog could have seen over a decade ago that would trump it.”
    “We wonder if films can change the world. This one is at least bound to have a devastating impact.”
    – Maclean’s Magazine
    Read full article

    Tom Charity of CNN calls The Act of Killing “a radical development in the documentary form and as an explosive journalistic expose. It’s also a deeply disturbing emotional experience, a movie that some audiences will find upsetting or hard to stomach, even if it is also poetic, funny, profoundly strange and moving.”
    Read the article”

    In her Toronto wrap for Fandor.com, B Ruby Rich calls THE ACT OF KILLING “shocking, transporting, unprecedented…the ultimate discovery of the festival”.
    Read the article

    Canada’s Macleans magazine calls “shattering” Act of Killing the best film of Toronto International Film Festival
    Read the article

    “Really, you need to see this movie. You just do. It’s one of the most compelling, riveting docs I’ve ever seen; I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and I’ll bet you haven’t either.”
    – Movie City News
    Read full review

    “A surreal, chilling and unprecedented examination of atrocity and accountability, it’s difficult to think of another documentary—or piece of media—that so thoroughly captures a mass murderer’s conscience—as well as charting its evolution.”
    – Screen Daily
    Read full review

    “Easily the boldest documentary at Telluride this year—maybe one of the boldest ever seen anywhere—is the Morris-produced ‘The Act of Killing’.”
    “A banality-of-evil portrait that culminates in an unforgettable realization of culpability and conscience among the otherwise remorseless killers.”
    “The ‘final act of “Killing,” in which one of the gangsters plays one of his own victims on film and is seemingly shattered by the experience, is as vivid an ending as anything you’ll see in fiction or non-fiction this year.”
    – The Wrap
    Read full article

    “The result is an emotionally exhausting, perverse examination of guilt and regret that ends with a powerfully visceral moment of vulnerability that will leave audiences speechless. ‘The Act of Killing’ is a truly great film. 5/5″
    – The Documentary Blog
    Read full review

    The Wrap’s Steve Pond lists The Act of Killing as favorite film of the 2012 Toronto Film Festival.
    Read the article

    Indonesian review of The Act of Killing in Jurnal Footage
    Click here for the full review (in Indonesian)

    “The study of the 1965-1966 killings in Indonesia, and for that matter the study of the country’s politics more generally, will never be the same again with the recent release of the documentary film The Act of Killing.”
    – Ariel Heryanto in the IIAS Newsletter (International Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands)
    Read full article

    “The most unsettling movie about mass killing since ‘Shoah’”
    – Indiewire
    Read full review

    “A documentary like no other I’ve seen… Hypnotic.”
    – Collider.com
    Read full review

    “The Act of Killing is a minor miracle.”
    – Badass Digest
    Read full review

    “The Act of Killing” is uncomfortable, disquieting and riveting; as the final credits rolled, with “anonymous” standing in for the names for the Indonesians who would surely be killed if their names were made public, you recognize that while the film is over, Indonesia’s nightmare is not, and won’t be and will never be as long as a government and a people make killers into movie-style heroes.”
    – MSN.com
    Read full review

    “Bizarre, hypnotic, audacious, The Act of Killing is also one of the queasiest and most distressing films to play TIFF in the last 15 years.”
    – The Globe and Mail
    Read full review

    The Act of Killing is “surreal, disturbing, timeless… Could well change how you view the documentary form…”
    – LA Times
    Read full article”

    Criticwire made a survey among film critics at Toronto International Film Festival: Tom Charity (CNN.com), Steve Dollar (The Wall Street Journal), Jordan Hoffman (ScreenCrush.com), Adam Nayman (The Grid), Jordan Smith (IONCINEMA.com) and Kim Voynar (Movie City News) name The Act of Killing the best documentary at TIFF 2012 (and several other critics call it the second best).
    Read the article

    Jay Kuehner calls The Act of Killing “mind-bending, hyper-reflexive documentary” on Fandor.com
    Read the article

    “Unforgettable, unmissable, horribly brilliant.”
    – The Guardian
    See video report

    Indiewire: “Joshua Oppenheimer On This Year’s Most Disturbing Doc and Working with the Heads of Indonesian Death Squads to Re-Enact Mass Murders”"

    The Documentary Channel: “The Act of Killing is Suddenly My Most Anticipated Documentary of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival”

    Indiewire: “Joshua Oppenheimers Documentary ‘The Act of Killing’ Premieres at Telluride, Screens at Toronto”

    The Hollywood Reporter: “Telluride 2012: Errol Morris, Ken Burns Welcome the Next Great Documentarians”



  • ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS

    Tempo Magazine – Special Edition inspired by The Act of Killing
    Original Edition, In Indonesian
    English-language Abridged Edition

    Interviews with director Joshua Oppenheimer
    Democracy NOW! (video + transcript)
    DP/30 (video)

    Errol Morris Werner Herzog talk about The Act of Killing:
    VICE.com (video)

    Essay by Errol Morris on The Act of Killing -
    “The Murders of Gonzago”

    Al Jazeera segment -
    “Indonesia’s Killing Fields” (video)

    Director Joshua Oppenheimer on The Daily Show, August 13, 2013 (video)

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3