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The 'Look of Silence' unites critics in praise

Date: 12/06/2015

The film ‘The Look of Silence’, released for UK distribution on Friday, has garnered widespread praise from critics and the public alike. A follow-up to the BAFTA-winning documentary ‘The Act of Killing’, co-funded through a Research Grant from the AHRC, the new film explores the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s, this time through the point of view of one victim's family.

The film tells the story of Adi, an optometrist, and his quest to find out about the murder of his brother whom he never even met. He confronts his brother's killers who still live in the neighbourhood and who still have power and influence in contemporary Indonesia for reasons that the earlier film made clear.

The film won the Jury Prize at the recent Venice Film Festival, while Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian said: “’The Look of Silence’ — like ‘The Act of Killing’ — is arresting and important film-making.” Lee Marshall wrote in ‘Screen Daily’ that it's a gripping but also often tense and uncomfortable viewing experience as Adi confronts men who were all in varying degrees responsible for his brother's death and that of thousands of others. Robbie Collin wrote in the Daily Telegraph that the ‘Look of Silence’ is an essential companion piece to Oppenheimer's earlier film; another astonishing heart-of-darkness voyage into the jungle of human nature.

Professor Joram ten Brink, of the University of Westminster, Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded ‘Genre and Genocide’ research project and co-producer of the ‘Act of Killing’, said: Although this film is not a direct output of the original research project funded by the AHRC, it certainly has its roots in and draws its questions and inspiration from that research. The new film gives us another example of how research can push boundaries, challenge and inspire and how it leads to new questions and new responses well beyond the lifespan of the original research project.

Click here for further information on ‘The Act of Killing’ and the ‘Genocide and Genre’ project from which it came.

Find out more about The Look of Silence on the film website.

Find out more about The Look of Silence screenings in the UK.

Notes to Editors

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. www.ahrc.ac.uk


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