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WATCH: Director Joshua Oppenheimer Talks 'Act of Killing'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood December 11, 2013 at 1:36PM

As part of Indiewire's ongoing Awards Season Spotlight, director Joshua Oppenheimer discussed his harrowing documentary "The Act of Killing," a frontrunner for an Oscar nomination. Check out some video snippets, below.
Joshua Oppenheimer
Daniel Bergeron Joshua Oppenheimer

Director Joshua Oppenheimer discussed his harrowing documentary "The Act of Killing," a frontrunner for an Oscar nomination, as part of Indiewire's ongoing Awards Season Spotlight.

The film, which asks former Indonesian war lords to reenact atrocities as if they were in a Hollywood action or crime film, has the likes of Werner Herzog and Errol Morris executive producing. Herzog, who came on board after an early screening, told Indiewire:

"He asked to show me the unfinished film, in London. Director’s cuts are usually so boring, but after 15 minutes I knew I had to support this film. 'The Act of Killing' tells a story that is at once so powerful and so absurd —documentaries like this come around once every quarter century.”

Oppenheimer's responses are articulate and fair-minded. Check out some video snippets, below.

On boastfulness masking denial:

On needing to find the distinction between "someone has done something monstrous" and "someone is a monster":

On opening up a national conversation in Indonesia:

This article is related to: Video, Video, Awards, Awards Season Roundup, The Act of Killing , Joshua Oppenheimer, Documentary, Documentaries

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.