Following Joshua Oppenheimer’s previous work about perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, THE LOOK OF SILENCE centers on a family of survivors who discover how their son was murdered. The youngest brother, Adi, is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live. He confronts the men responsible for his brother’s murder – in a country where the purge of more than 500.000 “communists” is regarded either as a thing of the past, or praised as an act of heroism. From these almost impossible premises begins an unprecedented dialogue.
The shift of focus from perpetrators to victims makes THE LOOK OF SILENCE a natural follow-up to the Academy Awards nominee THE ACT OF KILLING. The films disclose the atrocities in Indonesia from the 60s until today, and make for a strikingly nuanced exploration of human psychology and notions of history and truth.