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The Look of Silence [DVD]
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Through Joshua Oppenheimer's work filming perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother's murder - something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power.
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Top Customer Reviews
‘The Look of Silence’ takes a similar path to its more provocative predecessor, investigating the genocide committed after the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military in 1965 where over a million alleged communists were massacred. This film focuses more on the victims and their families. At its centre is Adi Rukun, a quietly spoken optometrist who travels around making housecalls to fit people for spectacles. His elder brother Ramli was brutally butchered in the massacre.
His optometry visits are used to target the murderers who are still alive, still feared and still in power. With great calm and dignity, Adi sets out the facts, and then listens to them tell stories of bloodshed and much worse. Ramli was butchered in various sickening ways which the perpetrators chillingly boasted about. We get one macabre detail, many of them seemed to believe that drinking the blood of their victims would prevent them from going mad.
‘The Look of Silence’ may not have the seismic shock of its predecessor, but its still no less startling to see what unfolds. Adi is the moral centre of the film. Its fascinating to watch a man try to control and contain himself in the face of evil, paralysed whilst witnessing one after the other refusing to take the blame. As was in ‘The Act of Killing’, none of the perpetrators had any real remorse, this time it was left to their families to acknowledge their misdeeds. The pain is still felt in Adi’s parents, astonishingly his father is 104 and mother 100, and he also has to face some uncomfortable truths about his own family and his community.Read more ›
In the present day, the documentary follows Adi, a 44 year old optician, as he watches footage of locals discussing their involvement in the killings in his village. He also questions some of them incidentally while carrying out eye tests to discuss what they know about his older brother Ramli who was killed in the aftermath of the coup.
The Look Of Silence is a very apt title for a film which takes a restrained approach to these events. The potential perpetrators are all elderly, the same generation as Adi's parents. Their responses to his questions range from denial, to excuses to hiding behind their current frailties. It's sobering to realise that all these things were done by 'normal' people - neighbours and even a relative are connected to the events - rather than monsters of the imagination.
A quietly powerful and thought provoking film.
After my viewing of it finished at 7 a.m., I was lowering myself into a warm bathtub when suddenly I became haunted by the feeling that headless bodies were floating past me as if I were in the Snake River where the corpses had been dumped. Indeed, I couldn't put the film out of my head the rest of the day, and haven't since. The film follows an Indonesian man named Adi Runkun whose brother had been brutally murdered in the 1965 purge of 'communists' as he confronts, in the present day and under the pretext of dispensing eye exams, the men who had carried out the killings (and who had boasted and joked about the carnage in "The Act of Killing"). We also see Adi's humane caretaking of his nearly dead father whom he bathes and consoles, and other family members who have had to live among his brother's murderers for decades. What makes this film so effective is how Adi refuses to display any emotion at the killers while the director continues to portray them as human beings rather than monsters (no revenge film this), but Adi's silent stare keeps burning into their souls as they squirm uncomfortably, stubbornly offering lame excuses while refusing any expressions of regret.Read more ›
However, a young man, Adi, who's in his forties interviews the murderers. Adi is an opthamologust, and he brings his wife five out into the countryside, into the home. He tells the people he likes to talk to old people to hear about the old days. What he'd wants to know is about the murder if his older brother, Ramli. Adi's parents, are in their 100's, and his mother continues to care for his blind father. The irony is interesting, in that the murderers do not want to see, and it is the victim's family who cannot see.
Adi, while talking exams the murders eyes another great irony. We are privy I see on film the story of the brutal murders. Adi, however, remains calm and collected from Ed, and it us his behavior that we will most remenber.
Joshua Oppenheimer brings us this remarkable film. 'The Look of Silence' is nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary category. It is one of the more remarkable documentaries I have seen. It is up against stiff competition against 'Amy', but this documentary deserves the Oscar.
Recommended. prisrob 02-28-16
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Together with The Act of Killing this is documentary film-making of the highest order. Oppenheimer's bravery is exceeded only by the courage of some of the violated participants. Read morePublished 5 months ago by EM Eames
Shows you what can happen with religion! If you could reason with religious people there would be no religious people!Published 12 months ago by Steely Dan
Provided kot of new information. Shocking for sure, but extremely important.Published 15 months ago by mWaltari
not your average documentary - scary how killers seem to think their actions are justifiedPublished 15 months ago by Dwm
Why don't they tell you when a film is subtitled, this is more like a documentary than a film although it is well done it's not what I expected and would not have paid for it had I... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mr A Byrom
Other reviewers have summed up very well the power of this extraordinary film, a companion piece to the monumental Act Of Killing. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Andrews