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The Look of Silence
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The Look of Silence

Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer
103 minutes
Denmark, Indonesia, Finland, Norway, UK, Israel, France, USA, Germany, Netherlands. 2014. In Indonesian with English Subtitles.

Winner of 25 prestigious international awards, including Best Documentary at the Danish Academy Awards, six awards at the 2014 Venice International Film Festival - including the Grand Special Jury Prize, the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival Peace Film Award, and the 2015 SXSW Film Festival's Audience Award.

The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful companion piece to the Oscar®-nominated The Act of Killing.

Description: Through Oppenheimer’s footage of perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. The documentary focuses on the youngest son, an optometrist named Adi, who decides to break the suffocating spell of submission and terror by doing something unimaginable in a society where the murderers remain in power: he confronts the men who killed his brother and, while testing their eyesight, asks them to accept responsibility for their actions. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.

Director's Statement: The Act of Killing exposed the consequences for all of us when we build our everyday reality on terror and lies. The Look of Silence explores what it is like to be a survivor in such a reality. Making any film about survivors of genocide is to walk into a minefield of clichés, most of which serve to create a heroic (if not saintly) protagonist with whom we can identify, thereby offering the false reassurance that, in the moral catastrophe of atrocity, we are nothing like perpetrators. But presenting survivors as saintly in order to reassure ourselves that we are good is to use survivors to deceive ourselves. It is an insult to survivors’ experience, and does nothing to help us understand what it means to survive atrocity, what it means to live a life shattered by mass violence, and to be silenced by terror. To navigate this minefield of clichés, we have had to explore silence itself.The result, The Look of Silence, is, I hope, a poem about a silence borne of terror – a poem about the necessity of breaking that silence, but also about the trauma that comes when silence is broken. Maybe the film is a monument to silence – a reminder that although we want to move on, look away and think of other things, nothing will make whole what has been broken. Nothing will wake the dead. We must stop, acknowledge the lives destroyed, strain to listen to the silence that follows. –Joshua Oppenheimer

Official Trailer


Select Festivals & Awards

- Winner, Best Documentary, at the 2015 Bodil Awards (Danish Academy Awards)
- Winner of 5 Venice Film Festival Awards in 2014, including the FIPRESCI Prize, the Grand Special Jury Prize, and the FEDEORA Prize.
- Winner of the CPH:DOX Award at the 2014 CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, Denmark
- Winner of the Peace Film Award at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival
- Winner of the UNESCO Award for Best Documentary at the 2015 Sofia International Film Festival in Bulgaria
- Winner of the Audience Award at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

About Joshua Oppenheimer

Joshua Oppenheimer

Born in 1974, USA, Oscar®-nominated film director Joshua Oppenheimer is recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” (2015-2019). His debut feature film, The Act of Killing (2012, 159 min and 117 min), was named Film of the Year in the 2013 by the Guardian and the Sight and Sound Film Poll, and won 72 international awards, including the European Film Award 2013, BAFTA 2014, Asia Pacific Screen Award 2013, Berlinale Audience Award 2013, and Guardian Film Award 2014 for Best Film. It was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary, and has been released theatrically in 31 countries. His second film, The Look of Silence (2014, 99 min), premiered In Competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival, where it won five awards including the Grand Jury Prize, the international critics award (FIPRESCI Prize) and the European film critics award (FEDEORA Prize).

Since then, The Look of Silence has received the Danish Academy Award for Best Documentary and the prestigious Danish Arts Council Award. It screened at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival (Best World Documentary), the Copenhagen Documentary Festival (Grand Prize), Festival d’Angers (Audience Award for Best Film), and the Berlin Film Festival (Peace Film Prize). Oppenheimer is a partner at Final Cut for Real in Denmark, and Artistic Director of the Centre for Documentary and Experimental Film at the University of Westminster in London.





Buy Tickets

Sun., Sept. 6, 2015 at 1:00 PM
Central Valley Premiere

Janet Leigh Theatre, Stockton


Documentary Feature Film

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen
Executive Producers: Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Andre Singer
Cinematographer: Lars Skree
Editor: Niels Pagh Andersen
Seri Banang, Mana Tahan


Film Source

U.S. Distributor: Drafthouse Films


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