Inside the minds of mass murderers | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

Lifestyle > Art & Culture > Film

Inside the minds of mass murderers

A disturbing documentary about the wave of killings that swept Indonesia in the mid-1960s gets a one-off screening in Bangkok

  • Published: | Viewed: 1,775 | Comments: 0
  • Newspaper section: Life
  • Writer: Pimrapee Thungkasemvathana
- +

'For massacres, I usually wore jeans. For massacres, pants should be thick," observes Anwar Congo, the central figure in Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary, The Act of Killing. 

In addition to addressing the wholesale, indiscriminate slaughter of "communists" _ basically anyone accused of opposing the military dictatorship _ in Indonesia between 1965 and 1966, Oppenheimer's film explores the psychology of a nation where a norm has been created from terror. It is a film about making a film about killing, a film about the representation of history, how history is remembered and how reality is "created" through the act of remembering.

The Act of Killing opens with a brief but broad statement providing background information on the conflict in Indonesia, before following Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Adi Zulkadry and several other gangsters who were involved in the extermination of alleged "communists" during that period as they make a film re-enacting their deeds. This re-enactment, Oppenheimer believed, would reconnect them to the past.

This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.

0 people commented about the above

Readers are urged not to submit comments that may cause legal dispute including slanderous, vulgar or violent language, incorrectly spelt names, discuss moderation action, quotes with no source or anything deemed critical of the monarchy. More information in our terms of use.

Please use our forum for more candid, lengthy, conversational and open discussion between one another.

  • Latest
  • Oldest
  • Most replied to
  • Most liked
  • Most disliked

    Click here to view more comments