THE LOOK OF SILENCE is Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful companion piece to his Oscar nominated documentary THE ACT OF KILLING. Through Oppenheimer’s footage of perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. The documentary focuses on the youngest son, an optometrist named Adi, who decides to break the suffocating spell of submission and terror by doing something unimaginable in a society where the murderers remain in power: he confronts the men who killed his brother and, while testing their eyesight, asks them to accept responsibility for their actions. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence. Executive produced by award-winning filmmakers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, the film debuted at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, European Film Critics’ Award and the Human Rights Nights Award. Director Oppenheimer joins us for his insightful take on how the country of Indonesia is only now beginning to come to grips with a genocide that took place a half a century ago and the remarkable courage of the unassuming optometrist who confronted the politically powerful people who killed his brother.
“Masterpiece” – New York Times / BBC / NPR
“The Look of Silence” is an altogether stunning companion piece that shifts its emphasis from the perpetrators of the atrocity to their victims, all the while maintaining its predecessor’s ornate moral complexities, keen sociological shading and occasional, devastating jabs of humor. Where “The Act of Killing” was preoccupied with firsthand experience, the follow-up is more concerned with the receiving of information — either as personal testimony or reformulated history — by those who don’t know the whole story.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Oppenheimer throws into sharp relief the contrast between Adi and the murderers’ perspectives, and thus the terrifying tension that engulfs the country as a whole. The Look of Silence emphasizes the scars left by the genocide on its survivors, underscoring the way that memory serves as a source of both misery and enlightenment — and as a necessary (if unpleasant) counterbalance to so many citizens’ attempts to hide their atrocities in history.” – Nick Schager, Village Voice
“If Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” was a full-throated scream, his follow-up “The Look of Silence” is an ululating lament, a drawn-out wail of grief that sounds almost like a song, albeit a harrowing one.” – Jessica Kiang, IndieWire’s The Playlist