The Look of Silence

  • Joshua Oppenheimer
  • Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom
  • 2014
  • 98 min
  • Focus: The Villain

Director Joshua Oppenheimer continues his exploration of Indonesia’s handling of the mass murder of a million communists and suspected communists in 1965 and 1966. In his award-winning The Act of Killing, he interviewed a number of perpetrators, who continue to be regarded as heroes by the Indonesian state. In The Look of Silence, he lends a voice to a survivor: the optometrist Adi Rukun.

Rukun is hoping to bring history into sharper focus for the perpetrators. He watches footage from Oppenheimer’s interviews with death squad members. The interviewees admit to being under the command of the Indonesian army and—often with amusement—show in detail where and how they murdered their prisoners, including Adi’s brother Ramli. When he personally confronts the guilty parties, they point to others, angrily cut the conversation short or threaten him with violence.

Oppenheimer’s breathtaking cinematography features Rukun’s house, where he lives with his family, as a calm oasis; but Adi refuses to share his address out of fear for reprisals. For similar reasons, many Indonesian members of the film crew appear anonymously in the credits.


  • 98 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Indonesian
  • Subtitles in: English
Joshua Oppenheimer
Signe Byrge Sørensen / Final Cut for Real
Executive producer
Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Andre Singer
Piraya Film AS, Making Movies Oy
Lars Skree

IDFA history

Focus: The Villain
Dutch Premiere

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