Friday, November 20, 2015

A first look at Look

If you live in Melbourne, or within an easy drive of it, and don't know what you're doing next Wednesday night, now you've got plans:

Go to Cinema Nova in Carlton to catch a first glimpse of Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence, his "sequel"/ companion piece to the unforgettable The Act of Killing. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Of course, if you're in the U.S., this has been out for months and you likely can't get to Melbourne anyway.

But for Melburnians it will indeed be a first look, as the movie doesn't open until the next day.

It's a screening to benefit HRAFF, which is the Human Rights and Arts Film Festival, which is playing in Melbourne next May. And since I know some people involved in HRAFF, I told them I'd help spread the word on my blog.

I haven't seen the film myself, of course -- not yet sure if I can make next Wednesday's screening, but I hope to. But after The Act of Killing, Oppenheimer has established himself as a director whose work always promises to be interesting. Of course, he's also a bit like the Sacha Baron Cohen of the documentary world, and if that sounds like it makes absolutely no sense, let me explain.

After Borat and Bruno, Cohen will never be able to make another movie in that mold because the ignorant rubes those movies relied on will be on the lookout for him. The same is sort of true of Oppenheimer, who more or less duped many of his subjects into freely discussing and confessing shocking crimes and rights violations on a pretense of making a different kind of movie than he actually was. You can debate the morality of that as much as you want, but you can't debate the sheer bizarro intrigue and profundity of the results of that approach in The Act of Killing. Now, no one will ever dare let down their guard around him again, short of him working under an assumed name (and cue another debate about filmmaker ethics).

Fortunately, Killing and Silence were made at the same time, so the same kind of unguarded frankness should be on display here. But get in while the getting's good, because the next thing we see from Oppenheimer will probably be a lot more of a "standard" documentary.

Here is the link to the event on Facebook:

And here is the direct link to book:

Tickets are $25 each.

Hope to see you there!

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