In 2013, director Joshua Oppenheimer released a documentary that will likely come to redefine how the format is shot. Following Anwar Congo, he filmed a story of his militant power restaging events during the Indonesian genocide from decades past. In the process, it opened up Congo and his crew in haunting ways that were candid and full of fascinating results. With his follow-up, he has chosen to show the other side: the victims. With the success of The Act of Killing firmly placing Oppenheimer as a master documentarian, how will The Look of Silence help to present a more rounded picture of a tragedy that not too many Americans knew too much about?
Much like everyone else, I was blown away by The Act of Killing. While I cannot claim to be a documentary expert, I know something when it compels me. It thoroughly fascinated me not by dictating notes from history, but bringing it to life in ways that reflected Congo's fascination with American gangster films and his oblivious understanding of the repercussions of violence. His follow-up has remained a highly anticipated one for most of us. It won't be out in time to dethrone Citizenfour as documentary to beat, but there's a chance that there will be a lot more discussion of The Look of Silence when it inevitably gets release next year.
The reviews are generally positive based on the various festival screenings. Many are even calling it on par or even exceeding the quality of the first. Still, it is exciting to know that Oppenheimer hasn't wasted all of his muster on one topic and that this matters. While I know very little and haven't seen it, the hype has sold me something of a back-to-back masterpiece and more reason to believe that Oppenheimer is the future of documentaries. Again, I don't know much about the format, so don't take my hyperbole too seriously.
However, there's a trailer out that at least entices audiences incapable of getting out to see it:
Gripping stuff with beautiful cinematography. The final moments are especially a selling point with a local Indonesian man confronting one of the murderers. In a simplistic moment, the word choice reveals something deeper about the townspeople and the problems that they are facing. Along with the massive amount of quotes, this looks to be another great documentary and in some cases a "crucial" one.
For those that wish to know more about The Look of Silence, here is the plot according to IMDb:
"A family that survives the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers."
Much like the final scene of The Act of Killing, the best approach is to let things play out naturally. I don't know much beyond the trailer, nor do I really want to. This is more to spread awareness that Oppenheimer's next film officially has a trailer and that it will be a big discussion point in general and at The Oscar Buzz in 2015. There's not much to say at the time, but with great reviews, I simply cannot wait for it to come out and see if it lives up to the hype and quality of the first.