The Look of Silence
Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer (2014)
Tuesday night, Maori TV showed Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2014 ground breaking documentary about the 1965 Indonesian genocide instigated by the CIA. The documentary is available at the Maori TV website for the next 2 weeks: The Look of Silence
The clip below is a 2016 Al Jazeera interview with the filmmaker.
More than a million people were brutally killed after a 1965 CIA-backed military coup that overthrew Achmed Sukarno – who became Indonesia’s first president in 1945 after leading their battle for independence (from the Netherlands) for more than 20 years.
Genocide victims were accused of being communists, although most were union members, teachers, artists, intellectuals and landless farmers who opposed General Suharto’s new military dictatorship.
For the most part the killers have stayed in power, living alongside the survivors and the victims’ families who were threatened into silence. Fear and anti-communist rhetoric persist in Indonesia today.
For nearly 10 years, American filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer researched and documented the atrocities.
He spoke to victims and their families as well as the perpetrators of the crimes, shedding light on Indonesia’s dark past and today’s impunity in his two films, The Look of Silence (2014) and The Act of Killing (2012).
His first film tells the story from the point of view of the killers – some of whom are celebrated as heroes in Indonesia today. The Look of Silence follows an optometrist, born two years after his brother was killed, as he confronts those responsible for his brother’s death.