SCANDR5B RESEARCH ESSAY.docx - Kafil 1 Usama Kafil Scandinavian R5B02 Attitudes towards violence in The Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer\u2019s The Act of

SCANDR5B RESEARCH ESSAY.docx - Kafil 1 Usama Kafil...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 10 pages.

Kafil Usama Kafil Scandinavian R5B02 April 26 2016 Attitudes towards violence in The Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing focuses on the stories of the Indonesian gangsters who admit to have unjustly tortured or killed men they labeled as communists. These men are allowed to film their own recreations of their acts of violence using any techniques they prefer. He did not solely show their recreations in his film, he put their films into a larger film that focused on their creations. Throughout this film, we see a society where such brutal acts of murder are celebrated to this day. Oppenheimer exposes the bubble that these men live in and puts their wrongdoings on display for the whole world to see. Despite exposing their crimes, he partially exonerates them by showing the realities of the environment they are in and that it was not entirely their fault. Oppenheimer shows that they have been influenced by a number of factors such as societal pressure, their gangster status, and the influence of violence from the movies they loved. Oppenheimer shows the effects of being influenced by fictional violence, and also uses Anwar Congo and his feelings to show the realities of violence and the consequences it can have. The gangsters represented in The Act of Killing truly believe they are heroes in their own world. What adds to their belief is the encouragement they get from their surroundings. They are celebrated in their society, and they really believe that they did good. These men were praised for their murders, and so, they did not feel guilt. Their societies attitudes towards violence are contingent upon their political views, and since the gangsters were killing the enemy (communists), it was okay. Oppenheimer shows the hypocritical view that violence is considered 1
Kafil to be okay when it is performed on “the enemy”. Oppenheimer exposes this hypocritical view in his film through inclusions of scenes where the gangsters are celebrated. At one point in the documentary the murderers are on a television show and the host of the show celebrates them for “developing a new, more efficient system for exterminating communists. It was more humane, less sadistic and avoided excess violence.” 1 Not only were they celebrating murderers, they were making them seem kind. She then looks at Anwar and says “You also just wiped them out” to which the live audience responds to with applause. Anwar Congo and his men were surrounded by people who praised them for their killing, so they did not question anything and celebrated themselves as heroes. They were trapped in their own bubble of reality, and the Oppenheimer shows how in the scene immediately after. The camera cuts from this TV show which symbolizes their deluded fantasy encouraged by their society to to some men behind the scenes, symbolic of the outside world. A man asks “How many people did he kill” to which he gets the response “A lot. Uncountable. About 1,00. How can he sleep? Isn’t he haunted?” This shifts the perspective

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture