Film Review: Chosen Glory, Chosen Trauma and the Power of Art

“The Act of Killing” (2012) is a brilliant documentary in which the viewer embarks on an emotional journey with Anwar Congo. He is challenged by documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer to create a film depicting his experience as a celebrated executioner in the 1965 Indonesian genocide. Western gangster heroes like James Dean, John Wayne and Victor Mature long since inspired Anwar and his friends in their acts as executioners in the 1960’s, and did so again in writing their movie script.

While they directed and filmed their movie, they also performed as both themselves and their victims. In describing the process of filming the documentary, Joshua recalls “… I gradually realized that (Anwar) was on a parallel, more personal journey through the filmmaking process, one in which he sought to come to terms with the meaning of what he had done.”

This film is much more than a documentary about Indonesia, it is about our shared humanity.

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