Over the past couple of weeks, end of year lists and polls seem to be everywhere. It's been great to see The Act of Killing top so many of these lists, and to see docs featured so prominently alongside blockbusters like Gravity. Today The Guardian has joined the chorus of those highlighting The Act of Killing as their best film of 2013, revealing it after a top 10 countdown over the past 2 weeks. The top 10 and a Q&A with director Joshua Oppenheimer have been featured in today's paper and can be read online.
In this chilling and inventive documentary, executive produced by Werner Herzog, Errol Morris and André Singer, the unrepentant former members of Indonesian death squads are challenged to re-enact some of their many murders in the style of the American movies they love. In the 1960’s Anwar Congo was a leader in Indonesia’s pro-regime paramilitary the Pancasila Youth who, along with his band of dedicated followers, was amongst those who participated in the murder and torture more than a million alleged Communists, ethnic Chinese and intellectuals. Proud of their deeds and completely unpunished, Anwar and his pals are delighted when the film’s director ask them to re-enact these murders for their documentary – in any genre they desire. Initially Anwar and his friends enthusiastically take up the challenge using hired actors, making elaborate sets and costumes and even using pyrotechnic, but eventually as the movie violence is played out and reconstructed, Anwar finally begins to feel unease and remorse.
Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing is now out on both DVD and Blu-ray. Both the DVD and Blu-ray come packed full of extras - including content from producers Errol Morris and Werner Herzog! The film is also now available to watch on iTunes and on Dogwoof.TV for members to watch.