Regurgitated Bodies

Presenting and representing trauma in The Act of Killing

Authored by: Lúcia Nagib

The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Politics

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415717397
eBook ISBN: 9781315678863
Adobe ISBN: 9781317392460


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Since its release in 2012, The Act of Killing has amassed a great number of fervent admirers and fierce detractors worldwide. Both sides would, however, agree that the film opens up uncharted territory on which to recast the tenets of documentary, world cinema and filmmaking in general. Evidence of this is a poll with critics and filmmakers conducted in 2014 by Sight and Sound magazine which enshrines The Act of Killing among the most important documentaries ever made. In every respect the film challenges and innovates, first of all through its focus on unrepentant murderers, involved in the massacre of more than a million so-called communists in Indonesia in the mid-1960s, who re-enact their most gruesome crimes in the style of their favourite Hollywood genres.

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