The Look of Silence
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Countries of production: Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom
Year of production: 2014
Duration: 100 mins
Languages: Indonesian, Javanese
Through Oppenheimer’s footage of perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. The documentary focuses on the youngest son, an optometrist named Adi, who decides to break the suffocating spell of submission and terror by doing something unimaginable in a society where the murderers remain in power: he confronts the men who killed his brother and, while testing their eyesight, asks them to accept responsibility for their actions. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.
Born in 1974, USA, Oscar®-nominated film director Joshua Oppenheimer is recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” (2015-2019). His debut feature film, The Act of Killing (2012, 159 min and 117 min), was named Film of the Year in the 2013 by the Guardian and the Sight and Sound Film Poll, and won 72 international awards, including the European Film Award 2013, BAFTA 2014, Asia Pacific Screen Award 2013, Berlinale Audience Award 2013, and Guardian Film Award 2014 for Best Film. It was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary, and has been released theatrically in 31 countries. His second film, The Look of Silence (2014, 99 min), premiered In Competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival, where it won five awards including the Grand Jury Prize, the international critics award (FIPRESCI Prize) and the European film critics award (FEDEORA Prize). Since then, The Look of Silence has received the Danish Academy Award for Best Documentary and the prestigious Danish Arts Council Award. It screened at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival (Best World Documentary), the Copenhagen Documentary Festival (Grand Prize), Festival d’Angers (Audience Award for Best Film), and the Berlin Film Festival (Peace Film Prize). Oppenheimer is a partner at Final Cut for Real in Denmark, and Artistic Director of the Centre for Documentary and Experimental Film at the University of Westminster in London.