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Oscar-nominated documentarian on follow-up to controversial ‘Act of Killing’

A still from
A still from "The Look of Silence"

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Few documentaries in recent years have inspired as much debate as Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing.”

The then 38-year-old first-time director trained his gaze on a subject few people knew about: the Indonesian massacres of 1965-66, a political purge that claimed the lives of more than 500,000 communists, suspected communists and their supporters.

In that film, Oppenheimer decided to tell the stories of the killings from the perspective of a gang of perpetrators and, more controversially, re-staged the murders in fantastical yet disturbing details.

Oppenheimer has been at work making a second documentary on the same topic. The result is “The Look of Silence.” It’s been described as a companion piece to the earlier work, and this time around, the incident is told from the victim’s point of view, in particular an optometrist named Adi in Indonesia, whose brother was killed during the period of political upheaval.


Joshua Oppenheimer, director behind the new documentary, “The Look of Silence” -- a companion piece to the Oscar-nominated “The Act of Killing,” which came out in 2012. “The Look of Silence” opens this weekend at the Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles