#michael j fox #back to the future #whattababe
Presented from the perspective of the white American Oppenheimer, and to a largely white western audience watching a film attached to the work of the supposedly super-smart, super-dark, super-funny (in that dark humor kind of way) directors like Werner Herzog or Errol Morris, the subjects are so thoroughly outside of any civilised dignity (as presented by The Act of Killing). They are, to put it bluntly, like silly (brown) children that (white American) adults can laugh at.
[…] The fact that these men have killed thousands of people, Indonesia still deals with the effects of what happened less than fifty years ago, and the situation was a complex web of historical colonialism, neocolonialism, and American neoimperialism, is largely ignored […] Instead, we are invited to feel a sense of superiourity: we are better than these men, and all the people in Indonesia, because our government would never do such a thing, our countries would never go through such trauma, our media does not lie like that, and, perhaps most importantly (the focus is on the film within the documentary), our films are not that bad.
The Act of Killing is not a balanced, unbiased film. Instead, it takes the side of the killers in a conflict scarcely remembered in North American communities that have no ties to Indonesia. It does not challenge the killers thoroughly and instead relies on racist mockery. It does not challenge the United States’ support of the killings and American hegemony and instead allows for a sense of western American (and even white) superiourity. It does not give us a look at the events of 1965 from an unbiased perspective, nor the aftermath (a perspective which is already lacking in North America). Instead, we are offered a view of the fun, happy lives of the killers, who we can gently judge and laugh at. Less than a film revealing why killers might be so proud of their actions, The Act of Killing is, more than anything, a documentation of white American entitlement.