In what has been a marathon session of awards, The Act of Killing picked up another accolade by taking home best picture at last night's first Guardian Film Awards. Selected by the readers and judged by a panel that included: Alan Rusbridger, editor; Adam Curtis, filmmaker; Claudia Winkleman, presenter; Catherine Shoard, film editor; and Peter Bradshaw. Although he was still in the States we know that director Joshua Oppenheimer couldn't be more pleased to have won such high praise, but the UK editors Mariko and Ariadna were there and team Dogwoof toasted the win with them.
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 to watch.