Act of Killing_Website

The Act of Killing

Medan, Indonesia. Anwar Congo and his friends have been dancing their way through musical numbers, twisting arms in film noir gangster scenes, and galloping across prairies as yodelling cowboys. Their foray into filmmaking is being celebrated in the media and debated on television, even though Anwar Congo and his friends are mass murderers. When the government of Indonesia was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar and his friends were promoted from small-time gangsters who sold movie theatre tickets on the black market to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year. As the executioner for the most notorious death squad in his city, Anwar himself killed hundreds of people with his own hands.

The documentary The Act of Killing, which premiered in 2012, provides a unique and deeply disturbing insight into the ethical deadlock of global capitalism. The film – directed by Joshua Oppenheimer and shot in Medan, Indonesia – reports on a case of obscenity that reaches the extreme: Anwar Congo and his friends are now respected politicians but they used to be gangsters and death squad leaders who in 1966 played a leading role in the killing of as many as 2.5 million alleged communist sympathisers, mostly ethnic Chinese. The Act of Killing is about “killers who have won, and the sort of society they have built”. After their victory, their terrible acts were not relegated to the status of the “dirty secret”; on the contrary, Anwar and his friends boast openly about the details of their massacres (the way to strangle a victim with a wire, the way to cut a throat, how to rape a woman pleasurably . . .).
– Slavoj Zizek, New Statesman



Date: August 23 2013—September 5 2013
Cost: Members $4 | Non-members $8


Week 1
8/23 | 3:00, 8:00 PM
8/24 | 3:00 PM
8/25 | 3:00 PM
8/26 | Closed
8/27 | 8:00 PM
8/28 | 8:00 PM
8/29 | 8:00 PM

Week 2
8/30 | 12:30, 5:30 PM
8/31 | 12:30, 5:30 PM
9/01 | 12:30, 5:30 PM
9/02 | Closed
9/03 | 5:30 PM
9/04 | 5:30 PM
9/05 | 5:30 PM (Final Showing!)

Directed By: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn
Run Time: 115 Minutes
Origin: Denmark, Norway, UK
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Indonesian, English
Official Site

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

2 Fulton West
Grand Rapids, MI 49503



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