The Look of Silence

Saturday, June 13, 2015

THE LOOK OF SILENCE is Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful companion piece to the Oscar®-nominated 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 and the identities of his 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 older 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 50 years of silence.

In October 1965, the Indonesian government gave free rein to a mix of Indonesian soldiers and local militias to kill anyone they considered to be a “communist.” Over the next few months, at least 500,000 people were killed. In October 2012, then-Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto responded to findings of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) that the events of 1965-66 constituted a “gross human rights violation” by insisting that those killings were justified. Public discussion about the killings, a taboo topic in Indonesia for decades, has increased in recent years, a process substantially aided by the release of the documentary films The Act of Killing and THE LOOK OF SILENCE.

  • Country Denmark/Indonesia/Norway/Finland/UK
  • Language In Indonesian and Javanese with English subtitles
  • Running Time 103 minutes
  • Director Joshua Oppenheimer

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.