Tag Archives: The Act of Killing

My top 10 of 2013 list, starting with honorable mentions

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I was thrilled to contribute my top 10 list to The Film Stage’s 2013 rundown. It is on the site now, but I’ll also be posting my selections here over the next couple weeks. Let’s start today with my intro and honorable mentions.

This was a rare year in which I could have easily found 15 or so other films to include in my top 10 list, and I’m not sure when that last occurred. In other words, 2013 was stellar, even if some biggies flopped hard, especially during the summer months. This year, even films I would consider modest disappointments — Gatsby, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Dallas Buyers Club — had wonderful moments.

The year was so strong that achievements like Short Term 12, Lore, Before Midnight, Reality, Room 237, Stranger by the Lake, Mud, Upstream Color, The Bling Ring, Spring Breakers, Much Ado About Nothing, Gravity, Fruitvale Station, and The Great Beauty found themselves eclipsed. One note: I have yet to see a few majors, including Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, andNebraska, so put a big asterisk next to my name, sadly. And check with me in a few days, because the order may have changed completely, another sign of a joyous year of cinema. In the meantime, see my honorable mentions and top 10 films below.

Honorable Mentions:

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

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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.”

Herzog:

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

Morris:

“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.