The podcast ‘Dealing with the Past in Indonesia’ is a recording of a public talk I chaired at King’s College London in December 2013. Prof. John Sidel (LSE) and Mr Paul Barber (TAPOL) provided extensive analysis and commentary on the event that the movie deals with: the 1965/66 mass killings of at least 500,000 alleged ‘communists’ in Indonesia.
One of the most powerful and provocative documentaries, the film shows local gangsters in Medan, Sumatra re-enacting in vivid and sometimes sickening detail the killing of alleged communists during the events that followed former President Suharto’s rise to power in Indonesia in 1965. At least 500,000 people were murdered and up to one million were held without charge or trial, many of them tortured. Since the end of the Suharto regime in 1998, former political prisoners, researchers and human rights activists have started documenting the widespread human rights violations, including crimes against humanity. The movie invites reflection on the perpetrators of mass violence, and on dealing with a violent past in Indonesia and elsewhere.
The documentary ‘THE ACT OF KILLING’ has won many prestigious film prices around the world, including a nomination for the Oscars in the category ‘best documentary’. It also won best documentary at the 2014 BAFTA awards.
A list of important commentaries and reflections on the movie and information on the human rights campaign ‘minta maaf! say sorry for 65’ can be found here.