On Wednesday, Drafthouse Films and Participant Media said they had jointly acquired U.S. rights to The Look Of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary that is screening here at the Venice Film Festival in Competition. The film is a follow-up to his award-winning and Oscar-nominated The Act Of Killing. That film saw Indonesian death squad leaders re-enact assassinations they committed in anti-communist purges after the military coup of 1965. The new movie examines one man’s journey as he searches for, and confronts, his brother’s killers. A slightly more conventional and narrative documentary, Look Of Silence has been widely applauded here on the Lido.
Oppenheimer spoke to the press this afternoon accompanied by the movie’s central presence, ophthalmologist Adi Rukun. Both of Oppenheimer’s films on the subject were made under circumstances that required most of the crew to be credited as “anonymous.” He said anyone involved was at grave risk if their identities were revealed. The director noted, however, that Indonesian authorities, who had responded negatively to The Act Of Killing, issued an admission of regret once the movie was nominated for an Oscar. He later told AFP, “I receive threats all the time. I am not a brave man, I scare easily… Making The Look Of Silence frightened me, I think it frightened us all.” He noted the crew had “two getaway cars outside at all times.” Oppenheimer also told reporters he would not revisit Indonesia, and take what he’s learned and move on to other subjects.
The above clip from The Look Of Silence shows Adi speaking to his mother about the muderers.