Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Act of Killing (2012)

Had wanted to watch this since I heard it was nominated for Oscars, but never had the time since I knew it was almost 3 hours long. This movie was banned here, but it's available for free in YouTube.

When I was watching the movie, I thought it was some kind of 'behind the scene' in the making of a movie called 'Arsan dan Aminah'. American director Joshua Oppenheimer chatted with the main actors, asked them to tell the 1965 events in their own words. I had heard such stories (but the ones happened in Central Java) but from the victims' relation (the closest one was my aunt, who was almost in tears when she told me what had happened to her uncle, her favourite uncle - I supposed), never from the 'killers'. I just read articles at internet, that 'Arsan and Aminah' had been never released, that that the actors perhaps would sue Mr Oppenheimer. A bit strange despite the fact that there was a scene of an interview about 'Arsan and Aminah' with a local TV, with the poster as a background. I was appalled watching this, because the TV journalist put a happy face in the interview.

Anwar Congo, one of the main player in this documentary, was a member of Pemuda Pancasi1a. He was young and ardent in 1965. When he heard about how this communist party (PKI) murdered the top army generals, with his friends he struck back the PKI members and their branches; even though he lived in North Sumatra. Many people at that time belonged to organizations or parties and PKI was one of the biggest. Those who lived far from Jakarta usually didn't know anything and were caught, jailed, tortured and murdered because of a tiny connection to PKI. I had heard there were cases of mistaken identity, that they got the wrong person, but it made no different. [The Javanese people, for instance, often has a name of one word only. Two persons with the same name and they got the wrong one or they got both, the fate of the name's bearer was the same.] It was mentioned in the movie that they who had money could buy their freedom (it was true). At that time Anwar Congo believed that he did the right thing. He showed the director how he used garrote for execution. He got sick in the end of the movie, perhaps filled with remorse; unlike his other friend.

There were scenes when the Chinese retailers were being coerced for money and I wonder if the government could do something about it. There was also a candidate for people's representative (DPR) who thought how he could gain more money for himself if he won; not for the people's prosperity.

In President Soeharto's era, there was this movie called Penumpasan Pengkhianatan G 30 S PKI. It was released in 1984 and I was 11 year-old. My teacher told us, the pupils, to watch this movie and I went together with my father. It was a long movie, divided into 2 parts: First part when the PKI plotted to kill the generals and went on with the kidnapping, tortures and murders. Second part when Letjen Soeharto eradicated the traitors. The tortures scenes made me sick and years later I found out that the UK classified films according to their contents, such as nudity, profanity, violence. Like a movie with one (or two?) f**k word will get a 18+ certificate. So when I was forced to watch such violence like in the PKI movie, by my government, I wonder if I could sue somebody... Those same people who always boasting this country was famous of its eastern polite manners.

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