The Act Of Killing Analysis

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Renee Maxine F. Salcedo BA History III History 154 – History of Southeast Asia The film “The Act of Killing” is a 2012 Danish- British- Norwegian co-production film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. The film is about the individuals who participated in the Indonesian Killings of 1965 – 1966. The film has received many awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. However, the Indonesian government has responded negatively to the film because of its misleading portrayal of the country. Personally, the whole film made me cringe. After watching it, I was bothered for many reasons but to further explain my argument, I will present two points that will be further substantiated in the next paragraphs.…show more content…
Through these two points, I will give my assessment about the film itself, the “other” film being made as shown in the movie, and the acts of killing being presented on the “other” film. My first point of argument is that the executioners were somehow uncertain about the real purpose of their killings. As shown in the film, they all claim themselves to be gangsters and associate that term to its origin which is “free men”. Being members of the paramilitary, they kill communists to forward their ideology. However, as I have noticed in the film, the Pancasila youth, the paramilitary organization in Indonesia, does not clearly state their political ideology. All they do is claim that they are free men, thus, they should execute anyone who goes against them, especially the communists. I think this move from them is absurd. Even at the last part of the film, Anwar questioned himself on what he did years ago and why did he do it. It seemed to me that some of them found pleasure in doing the killings using wires. They always mention the word “sadism and sadistic” on the film. In my opinion, they even consider it as a form of entertainment. To quote one…show more content…
It tells the effects of the genocides to the outlook of the people in politics and in society as a whole. As for me, the film gave me another perspective. The historiographies of any country have always been dependent on the survivors. The accounts that were always featured were written by either a victim or a winner. This film offers another approach, this time from the perpetrators itself. They present their selves to the world to tell their version of the story. While I was criticizing their acts for the most part of this paper, I am totally moved when the film finally reached its end. Anwar, the executioner also plays the role of a victim and he stated that he cannot continue. The voice over said that it was worse for the victims because they knew they were going to be killed. You can see in Anwar’s emotions the guilt after all those years. And those tears from his eyes also mean that although they act as tough men in Indonesia, they too are fragile
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