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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Revealing documentary on how Indonesia sees 1960s mass killings

  • Endy Bayuni

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, September 20 2012   /  09:32 am

Here is a new film that should stir more controversy in Indonesia than the trashy Innocence of Muslims, one that every concerned Indonesian must watch: The Act of Killing is a documentary about the brutal mass murders that happened in this country more than four decades ago as told by one of the surviving perpetrators.

But as telling as the details are of how the killings were carried out by the central character in the film and his cohorts in Medan, North Sumatra, the documentary, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last week, is even more revealing about how Indonesians regard that tragic episode of their history.

The movie by British-based producer Joshua Oppenheimer tells of how not only one of the murderers, a gangster, happily recounted his part in the killing, but also how he has continued to live unpunished and how the nation regards people li...