In Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing, Indonesia's long repressed relationship with state-sanctioned terror is tackled head on. Some of the men responsible for murdering more than a million communists following the 1965 military coup gleefully reenact their past deeds, detailing with horrific prowess how they were able to dispatch so many people in such rapid succession.
The Look of Silence, Oppenheimer's important follow-up, examines these events from the perspective of one victim's family still left devastated by their loss five decades before. But despite the subject matter it functions more as an antidote to The Act of Killing than a sequel, a way for those left powerless by mass murder to find newfound strength.
Adi, an optometrist born a few years after the carnage began, attempts to reconcile the facts surrounding his older brother Ramli's murder by the citizen death squad Komada Aksi. During his pursuit Adi brushes up against the powerful desire to deny and repress trauma, both by his elderly parents and the killers themselves, some of which still hold public office. "Leave it to God," they say, suggesting stagnant futility and faith are proper recipes for reconciliation.
Interspersed between such interviews are segments that find Adi sitting silent and alone, staring speechlessly at a flickering television. Oppenheimer films him watching unsettling footage made up of smug confessions and testimonials from his brother's killers. In these moments The Look of Silence, which opens at the Ken Cinema on Friday, July 31, confronts Indonesia's past horrors through the resolve of one man unwilling to flinch.
If The Act of Killing punches us in the gut, The Look of Silence allows us time to fully consider the pain. Through Adi's eyes we experience a striking juxtaposition of emotions; there's helplessness and rage, but also patience and forgiveness. The healing process begins when he embraces the complicated humanity of both extremes.
A Borrowed Identity: A Palestinian-Israeli teen named Eyad struggles to find his identity and place at a prestigious boarding school in 1980s Jerusalem. Screens through Thursday, August 6, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation: The couch jumper known as Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, super duper special agent in charge of a super duper secret squad of globe-trotting badasses who now must battle a secret rogue agency looking to rule the world.
That Sugar Film: Actor and filmmaker Damon Gameau eliminated sugar from his diet, then made a movie about the drastic effects it had on his mood and physique. Screens through Thursday, August 6, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
The Look of Silence: Joshua Oppenheimer's latest documentary once again examines the trauma caused by Indonesia's military coup that left over a million communist citizens dead in 1965.
The Tribe: Sex, drugs and crime. It's just your normal experience at a boarding school for the deaf. The film is told through sign language but contains no subtitles. Screens through Thursday, August 6, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Vacation: Chevy Chase is rolling over in his grave. Wait, Chevy's still alive.
One time only
Dumb and Dumber: Boneheads Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) bumble their way to Aspen, Colorado, only to get caught up in a criminal conspiracy. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Back to the Future: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time to save his future family in Robert Zemeckis' '80s classic. Screens at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
International Film Series Shorts Program: San Diego Asian, Latino and Italian Film Festivals curate a special program of the best shorts from past years. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.
Mulholland Dr.: David Lynch's nightmare looks at the horrors of Hollywood through the eyes of a naïve actress (Naomi Watts) looking to make it big. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 30 and 31 at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
A Man Named Pearl and Ingenious Minds: George Widener: Two very special artists are portrayed in this double feature focusing on the process of creation. Screens at 6 p.m. Friday, July 31, at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.
The Wizard of Oz: Kansan Dorothy (Judy Garland) and Toto get swept away to the magical land of yellow brick roads, cowardly lions and wicked witches. Screens at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2 at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Take Me Home: A frantic young woman hops in a NYC cab and asks the driver to take her home to California. Hilarity and romance ensue. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 3, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village.
Much Ado About Nothing (2012): Joss Whedon tackles Shakespeare's whimsical comedy, updating it to the modern day. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, August 3, at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.
The Happy Poet: After dropping out of graduate school, a young man decides to open an organic food cart. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 4, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Public Library.
Jaws: The perfect cautionary tale against skinny-dipping. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 5 at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
The NeverEnding Story: A troubled boy finds new purpose in the pages of a fantasy book that becomes very real. Screens at 11:55 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Ken Cinema.