Wednesday Round-Up: The Werner Herzog-Approved “Act of Killing” Screens in Rochester


Sometimes I forget just how close to Buffalo Rochester’s George Eastman House is, and that’s a major oversight. Many, many films that never make it to Buffalo screen at Eastman’s Dryden Theatre, including August’s “Reality” and “Post Tenebras Lux.”

But the real score is “The Act of Killing.” It is no exaggeration to say that Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary is the most acclaimed film of 2013, and that makes its two Rochester screenings — 8 p.m. on August 16 and 2 p.m. on August 18 — important WNY cultural events.

The controversial film about 1960s Indonesian death squad members who murdered thousands of dissenters actually features the subjects themselves reenacting the killings. You can see how that would be controversial, right?

Two greats, Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, are executive producers, and both had insightful remarks on “Act of Killing.”


“I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade … unprecedented in the history of cinema.”


“Like all great documentaries, ‘The Act of Killing’ demands another way of looking at reality. It starts as a dreamscape, an attempt to allow the perpetrators to reenact what they did, and then something truly amazing happens. The dream dissolves into nightmare and then into bitter reality. An amazing and impressive film.”

It is, then, a film about history, but also about cinema itself. I can’t wait to see it.

Now, on to the rest of this week’s round-up:

A scene from the documentary “The Act of Killing”; courtesy of Drafthouse Films.

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