Kajian-kajian Film ‘1965’ Intan Paramaditha : Joshua Oppenheimer’s films on Indonesia’s 1965 mass killings and the global human rights discourse

“Narratives of Discovery: Joshua Oppenheimer’s Films on Indonesia’s 1965 Mass Killings and the Human Rights Discourse.” Social Identities, 25:4, 2019, pp. 512-522.


The Indonesian massacre of 1965 became part of the global human rights discourse after Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act of Killing (2012, The Act of Killing [Motion Picture]. Final Cut For Real.) received widespread acclaim. Focusing on the perpetrators of the 1965-66 mass killings, The Act of Killing was framed and regarded as a film that broke the 50 years of silence in Indonesia. This paper examines how the narratives of discovery underpin the discourses around Oppenheimer’s films, The Act of Killing and its companion piece, The Look of Silence (2014. The Look of Silence. Final Cut For Real.), as well as the 1965–66 atrocities. While the films play an important role in enhancing the global visibility of the issue, the emphases on silence and secrecy have undermined the dissonance and friction in post-authoritarian Indonesia. The entrance of the 1965 massacre into the global stage could be seen as a reproduction of a paternalistic scenario that begins with the Western discovery of a ‘dark secret’ in the Third World. The status of Oppenheimer as a shorthand for the discovery of 1965, however, is mediated and preserved not only by the Western media but also local actors for their own strategic purposes. The political impacts of the Oppenheimer’s films need to be acknowledged along with the complexity of power and privilege in the politics of circulation of issues in the global human rights discourse.

 “Tracing Frictions in The Act of Killing. Film Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 2, Winter 2013, 42-47.

To put such a burden of history on The Act of Killing would not do justice to what the film has achieved. The Act of Killing is not the only source from which to learn about Indonesia’s bleak history; instead, it has to be seen as a starting point to identify what has and has not been done. The film’s most valuable contribution to Indonesia, which has not been surpassed by previous projects of its kind, is the capacity to make the issue travel. In the postcolonial context, particularly, travel ensures legitimacy. 

Even the young Indonesian viewers at the UI screening are part of the ‘‘international’’ community who learn about the film through the global world, with access to the English language and social media in which news about the film circulates. Indonesian issues and cultural productions, as elsewhere in the sphere of global circulation, often need to take a detour, for it is only after they gain international reputations that they might achieve national recognition. The Act of Killing should be situated in a map of those works that did not have the chance for a (de)tour, along with the frictions—the remnants of the New Order communist myth that exist side by side with the struggles to dig into the past—that made them more resilient. It is only by understanding the detailed terrains on the map that Indonesians will be able to reexamine their position and respond, affectionately and critically, to the love letter of Joshua Oppenheimer.

The Look of Silence and Indonesia’s dark mirror – Intan Paramaditha [The Conversation}

Despite the persisting cultural movement since Suharto’s downfall, the infrastructures that prevent Indonesians from contesting the official narrative of 1965-66 remain unchanged. We need structural changes within Indonesia to do this.

I share a restlessness for change with Oppenheimer. And yet how do I reconcile the distance between myself and the man who holds up the mirror for me?

We need to position Oppenheimer’s films within the network of cultural activism that already exists in Indonesia. This, however, requires a more open discussion about the ramifications of power as part of the process of making and circulating documentaries such as The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence – and the limitations of activists and filmmakers in creating cultural interventions.

simak pula

Kado Joshua Oppenheimer Untuk Indonesia : Trilogi ‘The Act of Killing’ (Jagal), The Look of Silence (Senyap), The Globalization Tapes (Tetralogi + Disertasi)

Kado Joshua Oppenheimer Untuk Indonesia : Trilogi ‘The Act of Killing’ (Jagal), The Look of Silence (Senyap), The Globalization Tapes (Tetralogi + Disertasi)


Pasir Berbisik and New Women’s Aesthetics in Indonesian Cinema,” Jump Cut vol. 49, Spring 2007. – The article also appears in Yvonne Michalik, ed., Indonesian Women Filmmakers (Berlin: Regiospectra Verlag, 2013).

For example, sometimes we may see a sandstorm that prevents people from doing their activities, displaying nature’s vital role in shaping the villagers’ lives. Every morning Daya and her mother have to clean their house from a pile of sand, an evocation of the Sisyphus myth in an age of desperation where the lives of poor people are easily torn apart by a greater power, in this case, the 1965 political turmoil. Time and space have a subjective meaning in the film, emphasized by a recurrent image of Daya pressing her ears against the sands and imagining that they are whispering.

The film thus gives access to the point of view of marginalized peoples so as to illuminate an angle of history often dismissed by previous “historical” films.[8] Among those films, Pengkhianatan G30S/ PKI (The 30 September Movement Treason, 1984), the official film about the 1965 Communist’s coup, revolves mainly around stories of the great players, good military generals versus the evil communists, and it touches very little upon the impact of high politics on poor civilians.[9] Additionally, although neorealism has inspired many Indonesian filmmakers to present class tensions, their focus is usually on poverty and not on women’s subjectivity. Even if those films try to depict woman’s experience, they are usually framed within the perspective of male filmmakers.

Movie Trailer Pasir Berbisik

Pasir Berbisik (2001) Full Movie 

Intan Paramaditha memoderatori diskusi film “You and I”


“You and I” memotret perjalanan dua mantan narapidana politik Kaminah dan Kusdalini. Program ini akan mendiskusikan mengenai sisi lain dari reformasi, sejarah, stigma 65 serta sisi kemanusiaan.


Ratrikala Bhre Aditya

Fanny Chotimah


Intan Paramaditha

You and I (Official Trailer) – Bioskop Online Original

Simak 1700 ‘entry’ lainnya pada link berikut .

Daftar Isi Perpustakaan Genosida 1965-1966

Road to Justice : State Crimes after Oct 1st 1965 (Jakartanicus)

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Definisi yang diusulkan D. Nersessian (2010) untuk amandemen/ optional protocol Konvensi Anti-Genosida (1948) dan Statuta Roma (2000) mengenai Pengadilan Kejahatan Internasional. (disalin dari Harry Wibowo)

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