The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)

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The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)

#1 Post by Jeff » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:43 am

As impressed as I was by The Act of Killing, I think I liked Oppenheimer's followup, The Look of Silence, even more. It's got a completely different style and tone than the earlier film, and though it's a much more conventional documentary, it's no less powerful.

The Look of Silence follows Adi, the brother of one of the victims of the genocide. He's the village optometrist, and visits many of those responsible for his brother's death, under the guise of checking their vision. He confronts them with calm assurance, and their reactions (both external and what is clearly going on internally) are incredibly compelling. Adi is a magnetic central figure to build the film around. His courage and dignity in the confrontations with his brother's murderers is matched by his care for his young children and centenarian parents in the film's lyrical digressions at home.

Drafthouse Films will release it in the U.S. in 2015.

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Re: The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)

#2 Post by knives » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:27 pm

Dang, it looks like my posts on The Act of Killing were wiped out so I can't compare my reaction to that and this as concretely.

Anyway, I was hoping for this to buck the trend of terrible Oppenheimer films, but it does everything in its power to take an important premise and render it terrible. Framing our hero as nothing more then a middleman, a tool for Oppenheimer's stupid movie, is probably the most egregious thing here. Having him watching outtakes from The Act of Killing and making that seem like the impetus for confronting the killers turns this into a white savior narrative which becomes a violation of the camera. Obviously the movie wouldn't exist without its existence, but to blame the events entirely on the camera turns this into a perverted thing. For all the criticism that Rouch received for Moi, une noir this is really the film having its cake and eating it too.

I also had to stew and wonder who is this film for? What change does it hope to make. If I showed this to a Tory or a Republican would it change their rhetoric? Has it made any changes in Indonesia? As is the film seems to just be political pornography for self satisfied left wingers to masturbate sadly to.

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