The Act of Killing

When the government of Indonesia was overthrown by the military in 1965, ruthless gangsters such as Anwar Congo and his friends were promoted from small-time thugs to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists and intellectuals in less than a year.

Today, Anwar is revered as a founding father of a right-wing paramilitary organisation that grew out of the death squads. In this extraordinary film, director Joshua Oppenheimer urges the ageing gangster to make a movie, recreating his experiences. What emerges is a harrowing and surreal portrait of mass murder – complete with musical numbers, film noir gangster scenes, and yodelling cowboys – and the scene is set for a bold historical reckoning.

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