The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Day 4 – Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence”

Look_of_Silence_01The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer‘s companion piece to his 2012 documentary, The Act of Killing, with the key word here being “companion piece”. Because this is not a sequel one’s entry point into examining the psyche of those involved in the 1960s Government approved genocide of over a million supposed evil ‘communists’ in Indonesia can begin here. This time out, rather than focus his camera on members of the death squad as they reenact their crimes he shifts his aim on one of the victim’s family. The results are equally haunting as they are engrossing.

As one would imagine, the simple premise of having a family member of one of the many brutally murdered victims confront those who took part firsthand in the genocide inevitably leads to a table-full of virtual food for thought, so much food in fact that my over-stuffing of delicious Indian cuisine just an hour before palled by comparison to match the weight of this film, and I ate a heaping amount of naan. This movie left me full to the brim with head spinning reflections that encompassed all aspects of sanity, remorse, forgiveness, fear, and even legacy. Not your average documentary folks, not even close.

One more thing, I almost forget to mention just how exquisite the actual filming and framing of this movie were, that, along with a team of editors who respect the idea of coherency, really helped to make this film the standout feature that it is.

As to how you can see this, although there are no more screenings of this film during the festival, I highly recommend you catch this during it wider release, which as of right now is scheduled in the Bay Area for July 31st.



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Categories: Reviews, San Francisco International Film Festival

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