'Act of Killing': In small screenings, by word of mouth, Indonesians learn of dark past
Some analysts and academics say it's widely believe that "The Act of Killing" would be rejected, an indication that the country is still unwilling to address an authoritarian and violent era that is unknown to a large part of the populace, particularly young people.
“I think this is a special skill from the government to create fear,” says Iwan Pirous, a professor of anthropology at the University of Indonesia (UI). “My fear is that there are too many people in power who were involved in these events. Although we insist on universal human rights, Indonesia still does not want to deal with these issues.”
In 2009 the board banned “Balibo,” another film that sought to address Indonesia’s shadowy past by telling the story of five journalists killed by government forces in East Timor in 1975.
Packing in viewers
In recent weeks, dozens of organizations have screened the film in private. Venues have been so packed that some have agreed to multiple viewings. As demand has grown, people have started publicizing the movie through Facebook and Twitter.
There is no requirement that the screenings be secret, since unapproved films can be shown in small venues. But some organizations have decided to go public with bigger showings. On Tuesday, Professor Pirous helped organize a public viewing at UI that was attended by more than 400 students.