In 1965-66, Indonesia killed one million people it suspected were ‘communists’. Others who became victims of this cleansing were ethnic Chinese. An American filmmaker, Joshua Oppenheimer, goes to Indonesia and bumps into a man, Anwar Congo, who himself killed a thousand people. He and his friends, who were part of the extermination of real or imagined communists, happily boast about what they did and describe it in detail. Oppenheimer tells them that they should make a feature film reenacting what happened. Oppenheimer then makes a documentary about these people making a film about what they did.
The Act of Killing released last year but the world is still talking about it. When you watch it, you can scarcely believe what you see. Anwar Congo shows us how he perfected a method of killing that would produce the least blood. He wraps a steel wire around the victim’s neck, ties the wire to a pole and pulls it from the other end. He then watches how the video looks on television and says he shouldn’t be smiling, his face should look cruel, he shouldn’t be wearing white pants. He’d never wear clothes like that while doing the killings. Continue reading We are all Anwar Congo