The case study considered by the authors of this article is a peculiar example of a documentary that intervened in the landscape of democratization conflicts in the opaque context of current democracy in Indonesia. Half a century after the genocide, the film reopens the memory of a terrible and non- elaborated past, questioning the impact of the genocide in a difficult democratization process. Is it possible to move from an authoritarian regime that infected and corrupted all aspects of civil coexistence to a new and supposedly more democratic era without working through its traumatic legacy? What role might remorse and forgiveness play in the foundation of a possible new democratic pact? Joshua Oppenheimer’s film, The Act of Killing, confronts all these questions through the documentary use of the Indonesia genocide perpetrators’ words, body images, silences and denials. Engaging the images of this film through a semiotic perspective, the authors interrogate the relationship between aesthetic texts and political emancipating processes, as well as the role of traumatic memory elaboration in the foundation of democratization. Essential for their analysis is the investigation of how moving images are implicated in the imagination and actions of perpetrators, including their possible functions and effects in relation to the audience.

The act of documenting: Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing

C. Demaria
;
P. Violi
2020

Abstract

The case study considered by the authors of this article is a peculiar example of a documentary that intervened in the landscape of democratization conflicts in the opaque context of current democracy in Indonesia. Half a century after the genocide, the film reopens the memory of a terrible and non- elaborated past, questioning the impact of the genocide in a difficult democratization process. Is it possible to move from an authoritarian regime that infected and corrupted all aspects of civil coexistence to a new and supposedly more democratic era without working through its traumatic legacy? What role might remorse and forgiveness play in the foundation of a possible new democratic pact? Joshua Oppenheimer’s film, The Act of Killing, confronts all these questions through the documentary use of the Indonesia genocide perpetrators’ words, body images, silences and denials. Engaging the images of this film through a semiotic perspective, the authors interrogate the relationship between aesthetic texts and political emancipating processes, as well as the role of traumatic memory elaboration in the foundation of democratization. Essential for their analysis is the investigation of how moving images are implicated in the imagination and actions of perpetrators, including their possible functions and effects in relation to the audience.
2020
C.Demaria; P. Violi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/723730
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