Essay Example on Law History Political Violence Autumn Book Review

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Law History Political Violence Autumn Book Review Assignment Professor Stewart Motha Word Count Summary Indonesia East Timor 1965 With the instigation of governmental paramilitary force Indonesian Gangster Anwar Congo was responsible for the mass killing of thousands of communists and ethnic Chinese Joshua Oppenheimer in association with the Danish Institute of Film presents to us in his critically acclaimed documentary the Act of Killing a film in which Oppenheimer grants Anwar and his gangster comrades the opportunity to cinematically recreate the killing scenes to leave behind an accurate portrayal of this Indonesian conflict of the past for future generations Through the process of the documentary we begin to see the struggle of Anwar to come to terms with his terrible acts In the revisiting of these killing scenes Anwar subjects himself to the position of his victims through the pretence of artistic licence This powerful re enactment of Anwar s nightmarish deeds offers up to the audience the chance to see the political violence in action What culminates is a very powerful terrifying and sometimes somewhat surreal unfolding of the recreation of these historical events Overview In 2012 documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer in association with the Danish Film Institute and Final Cut for Real productions co directed the critically acclaimed The Act of Killing The documentary brings to light the largely forgotten military regime in 1960 s Indonesia where via the use of para military forces and Indonesian Gangsters the massacre and politicide of thousands of union communists and ethnic Chinese took place Oppenheimer s documentary centres around one Indonesian Gangster in particular Anwar Congo An infamous figure alongside his comrades was responsible for the deaths of possibly thousands of communists Oppenheimer offers Anwar and his gangster friends the opportunity to recreate their acts of killing by re enacting the historical scenes in whichever ways they wished documenting the sequential process
The documentary gives the audience insight into the minds of these actors via their conversations surrounding the retelling of these events What culminates is a very powerful terrifying and sometimes somewhat surreal unfolding of these historical events Aside from following Anwar and his gangster friends the film spends sometime focusing on the largest paramilitary organisation in Indonesia the Pancasila Youth This non government legitimised paramilitary gangsters have an estimated three million members Body of the Film The film body of the film largely follows Anwar and his comrades in which we seem them assume many roles in their attempt to recreate the historical killing scenes from torturer to victim Anwar and his friends go to great artistic lengths to retell their version of these historical events with makeup prosthetics to wearing various colourful costumes in different settings and locations Some of the scenes and locations are visually stunning dreamlike One scene at the opening of the film is exceptionally noteworthy Filmed by a riverside several dancing girls emerge from a giant fish structure to peaceful hymn song Another similar scene with the same dancing girls and hymn music is set in the beautiful lush Indonesian forest to the background of a large waterfall The in the scene we see Anwar and his main Compadré Herman Koto belies the true nature of the documentary s topic Genocide Early on in the film in conversation with his friend Herman Koto Anwar states that this is our history and we have to show it so in the future people will remember this is who we are


At first the scenes recreated are minimal Anwar takes us to a place above what is now a shop to a concrete courtyard where he explains that this was the place he brought many people communists to die To be murdered He demonstrates how he would use a strip of wire bent around a metal post then wrapped around a victim s neck and pulled by a piece of wood attached to the other end of the wire He states he would use this system of strangulation to avoid the terrible smell of blood that beating his victims to death would make There s many ghosts here because many people were killed here Here in the space where Anwar killed he tells us how he has tried to forget all this with music dancing drugs and alcohol In a surreal moment with the metal wire wrapped loosely around his neck Anwar begins to sing and dance in the courtyard An important theme running through the documentary is the influence as we are told that American film culture had over Anwar and his comrades Anwar takes the film crew to an old haunt a cinema where he worked and explains how he made money here scalping tickets because the American films were popular But when the communists were strong they demanded a ban on the films The gangsters would lose money Anwar then states he would take communists to a paramilitary office interrogate victims and kill people In the same mind as the American film he had just watched He states it s as if we were killing happily At his house Anwar watches the back the clip of himself reconstructing and demonstrating the killing in the courtyard with the metal wire He is asked how he feels watching this clip he replies Back then I felt more free Anwar attributes his freeness to kill on the influence of the sadistic movies he watched He claims he was influenced by films starring Marlon Brando Al Pacino and John Wayne westerns And you know where I get my inspiration for it I always watched the gangster films where they always killed with wire Later for the first time in the documentary a crucial conversation with an old comrade of Anwar s Adi Zulkadry exposes

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