Listen, if it's good enough for Werner and Errol, it's good enough for you. The Act of Killing is the latest release from Drafthouse Films, Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary that made huge waves at Toronto and Telluride this year. The film shook our own Jordan Hoffman when he saw it at Toronto - read his review here. It's a courageous move from Drafthouse Films to release such a powerfully vexing film, but the doc - that asks former Indonesian death squad leaders to recreate their mass killings in the vein of different cinematic genres, including musical numbers and crime dramas - is a challenging and significant story that deserves to be told.
Produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, The Act of Killing is "a landmark acquisition for us. No other film at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival made a comparable residual impression," says Drafthouse Films CEO and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League. "The Act of Killing is a film that inspires powerful reactions in many viewers, but among the most powerful have come from the team at Drafthouse. I am therefore extremely happy to have such passion fuelling the film’s U.S. release. And because The Act of Killing is an indictment of impunity everywhere, not least in the United States, our American theatrical release is particularly meaningful -- and it couldn’t possibly be in better or more caring hands."
From the press release:
Chronicling one of the most overlooked genocides in recent history, The Act Of Killing utilizes dramatization to illustrate the banal state of corruption and impunity the unrepentant, locally celebrated former executioners inhabit. The film earned early praise from master documentarians Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Into The Abyss) and Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog Of War), whose enthusiasm for the film lead to their role as Executive Producers. “I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade,” says Herzog, “it is unprecedented in the history of cinema.” Morris adds, “like all great documentaries, The Act of Killing demands another way of looking at reality...an amazing and impressive film.”
The film has been championed by critics for its innovative and uncompromising approach including Steven Zeitchik of The Los Angeles Times who wrote, “The Act Of Killing could well change how you view the documentary form,” and Tom Charity for CNN who agrees, saying the film is a “radical development in the documentary form and as an explosive journalistic expose.”
The Act of Killing was produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen for one of Denmark’s leading documentary production companies, Final Cut for Real. "Throughout the production of The Act of Killing it has been our ambition that this film should reach a theatrical audience. We are therefore extremely thrilled to collaborate with Drafthouse on the US release of the film. Drafthouse came highly recommended by other Scandinavian producers and directors and we look forward to working together on getting The Act Of Killing to the American public.”