Starting this past weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is one of the most controversial documentaries of the year, “The Act of Killing”. The film follows around a group of killers, that have somehow become revered figures in their native Indonesia, as they relate their stories of death and mayhem with grins and smiles upon their faces as hey reminisce about the ‘good old days’ when they were responsible for the death of thousands.
The Act of Killing
Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer
After the 1965 military coup against the Sukarno government, Indonesia was overrun by marauding bands of paramilitaries who indulged in the mass murder of more than one million alleged communists. These victims included ethnic Chinese and intellectuals and left behind a horrifying record of atrocities that, ironically, has enshrined these killers in their nation’s history as patriotic heroes. Director Joshua Oppenheimer and his collaborators provocatively explore this dark chapter of Indonesia’s history by enlisting a group of former paramilitaries to re-enact their crimes in the style of the Hollywood films that they love. Gleefully recreating some of the many murders they have committed with the aid of sets, costumes and pyrotechnics, the proud band of killers exhibits a fixation on style over substance — as well as an utter lack of remorse over their actions — that is both monstrous and mesmerizing.
Starting an exclusive run at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this week is the much anticipated follow up to the 2004 film “Somersault” from Australian director Cate Shortland, “Lore”. The gritty and unnerving tale has the children of Nazi Germany set to have face and deal with the influx of allied troops that are swarming into their now crumbling country. The story is grim and dense, but features a heck of a lead performance.
Starring: Saskia Rosendahl, Nele Trebs, André Frid, Mika Seidel, Kai Malina, Nick Holaschke and Ursina Lardi
Written by Cate Shortland and Robin Mukherjee
Directed by Cate Shortland
The year is 1945. After their SS Nazi parents are taken into Allied custody, five German children undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parents’ actions. (more…)