I was lucky to catch a discussion with Joshua Oppenheimer in Vancouver before a screening of The Look of Silence. Along with its precursor The Act of Killing, these two films are staggering companion pieces, must-sees that are having very real impacts on filmmakers, politicians, societies, etc. For in-depth pieces, try this one from The Atlantic, or this one from The Independent.
Since most who attended the talk are involved in filmmaking, he indulged our curiosity about the particulars of his process and techniques. Here are a few highlights :
- he films critical scenes with multiple cameras, to be sure to capture what cannot be repeated.
- Anwar, the protagonist in The Act of Killing, was the 41st perpetrator interviewed by Joshua, and they only met 3-4 years into filming.
- the re-enactment scenes in The Act of Killing always ended the day because they were so emotionally depleting for everyone involved.
- The director's cut (in this case the original cut) for The Act of Killing is about 44 minutes longer than the U.S. theatrical cut (which is widely distributed on platforms like Netflix). Oppenheimer compared some scenes from the 2 cuts, reminding us how much the edit changes our reading.
Sparse highlights from the great spinning sphere of publication.