Watch The Look of Silence
- 1 hr 43 min
The Look of Silence is a powerful documentary film from 2014, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. The movie is a follow-up to Oppenheimer's previous film, The Act of Killing, which explored the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66 from the perspective of the perpetrators. In contrast, The Look of Silence focuses on the victims of the atrocity, and one man's attempts to confront the killers of his brother. The film follows Adi Rukun, a middle-aged optometrist who lives in Indonesia with his wife and children. His older brother, Ramli, was one of the many people murdered during the genocide, which was orchestrated by the Indonesian government and military. Adi was born after the killings, but his elderly parents still live with the trauma of losing their son. Adi is the central figure of the film, and his story is a deeply personal one. Although he was not present during the killings, he feels a profound sense of loss and injustice, and he is haunted by the fact that Ramli's killers have never been held accountable. Adi's quest to confront these men and demand answers becomes the driving force of the film. The Look of Silence is a difficult and emotional film to watch, but it is also a necessary one. Through Adi's journey, the film exposes the brutal reality of the genocide, including the terrifying power dynamics that allowed the killers to act with impunity. Oppenheimer's camera captures the faces of the men who were responsible for Ramli's death, and the quiet horror on Adi's face as he speaks to them is palpable. But the film is also a meditation on memory and trauma, and the different ways that people confront their past. Adi's parents are a poignant reminder of the generational impact of the genocide, as they struggle to come to terms with their loss and their inability to seek justice. Meanwhile, the killers themselves offer a glimpse into the twisted fantasy world they have created to justify their actions, and the moral gymnastics they perform to avoid culpability. The Look of Silence is a film that demands attention, both for its historical significance and for its powerful storytelling. Oppenheimer's direction is subtle and nuanced, allowing the story to unfold at its own pace and inviting the viewer to draw their own conclusions. The cinematography is stunning, capturing the beauty of the Indonesian countryside as well as the horror of the prison camps where many of the killings took place. The film also benefits from Adi's own strength and courage. As an optometrist, he spends much of his time looking deeply into people's eyes, and in The Look of Silence, he turns this gaze on the men who murdered his brother. His calm and measured approach to confronting them is both heartbreaking and inspiring, and his unwavering commitment to speaking truth to power is a testament to the human spirit. In conclusion, The Look of Silence is a deeply moving and important film that shines a light on a little-known chapter of history. Through Adi's story, the film reminds us of the consequences of collective violence and the ongoing struggle for justice and reconciliation. It is a film that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, and it represents documentary filmmaking at its very best.