‘The Act of Killing’: Indonesia’s horror of the past (video)

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The Act Of Killing“The Act of Killing’, a movie by 38-year-old director Joshua Oppenheimer that just came to limited theaters in the US, has been received by critics as a “disturbing look” at mass killings and genocide that happened in Indonesia in the 1960s at the end of the Sukarno era.

A 1965 military coup in Indonesia led to mass killings of people labeled “communists.” The film says that, for decades, the government outsourced most of this dirty work to gangsters and paramilitary groups operating under authority of the army.

In the so-called anti-communist purge that followed the aborted coup of Indonesia’s next president Suharto, anywhere from 500,000 to one million men, women and children were killed. The victims were labeled communists, but many were not.

The movie tells the story of Anwar Congo, a self-described “gangster” (the word is widely interpreted in Indonesian culture to mean “free man,” as in rebel, as in patriot) who estimates he was responsible for 1,000 executions back in the mid-1960s.

That’s when North Sumatra became a killing field for enforcers of an anti-communist purge. Men like Congo were  government-sanctioned thieves, rapists and murderers. To this day, they’re mostly convinced that they were necessary agents of nation-building.

The movie doesn’t try to be a documentary, nor is it fiction. Main actor Congo is real, and he recalls what he did in a disturbingly narrative way.



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Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

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"The Act of Killing', a movie by 38-year-old director Joshua Oppenheimer that just came to limited theaters in the US, has been received by critics as a "disturbing look" at mass killings and genocide that happened in Indonesia in the 1960s at the end of the Sukarno era. A 1965 military coup in Indonesia led to mass killings of people labeled “communists.” The film says that, for decades, the government outsourced most of this dirty work to gangsters and paramilitary groups operating under authority of the army. In the so-called anti-communist purge that followed the aborted coup of Indonesia's next...

The Act Of Killing“The Act of Killing’, a movie by 38-year-old director Joshua Oppenheimer that just came to limited theaters in the US, has been received by critics as a “disturbing look” at mass killings and genocide that happened in Indonesia in the 1960s at the end of the Sukarno era.

A 1965 military coup in Indonesia led to mass killings of people labeled “communists.” The film says that, for decades, the government outsourced most of this dirty work to gangsters and paramilitary groups operating under authority of the army.

In the so-called anti-communist purge that followed the aborted coup of Indonesia’s next president Suharto, anywhere from 500,000 to one million men, women and children were killed. The victims were labeled communists, but many were not.

The movie tells the story of Anwar Congo, a self-described “gangster” (the word is widely interpreted in Indonesian culture to mean “free man,” as in rebel, as in patriot) who estimates he was responsible for 1,000 executions back in the mid-1960s.

That’s when North Sumatra became a killing field for enforcers of an anti-communist purge. Men like Congo were  government-sanctioned thieves, rapists and murderers. To this day, they’re mostly convinced that they were necessary agents of nation-building.

The movie doesn’t try to be a documentary, nor is it fiction. Main actor Congo is real, and he recalls what he did in a disturbingly narrative way.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

 

 

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