A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The Really Old Bali Blog (2013-2015) « Joshua Oppenheimer's film 'The Act of Killing' nominated for an Oscar

1965 to 1966: Indonesia's anti-communist genocide

'The Act of Killing' by Joshua Oppenheimer

Joshua Oppenheimer's film 'The Act of Killing' depicting the Indonesian genocide of 1965-1966.

THEY SAY THE WHITE HERONS that first nested in 1967 above Petulu village – a 10-minute-drive from Ubud, and now a tourist attraction in its own right – are the souls of Balinese men, women and children who were murdered out-of-hand by anti-communist mobs during the pitch black years of 1965 and 1966.

It's difficult to equate the Ubud of today – of legong performances, Italian restaurants, fine dining and traffic jams – with rampaging bands of killers armed with sickles and wooden clubs intent on ridding the island of communist sympathisers.

But between the months of October 1965 and March 1966 up to a million people were killed across Indonesia – 100,000 on Bali alone.

It's a complex piece of Indonesia's history, and one that has been pushed under the carpet – until now.

Joshua Oppenheimer's jet-black documentary 'The Act of Killing' has been nominated for an Oscar, and it will probably win.

Oppenheimer came to Indonesia to trace and interview perpetrators of the murder, and instead allowed his film to be hijacked by a trio of men who between them dispatched over 1,000 people.

The lead character is Anwar Congo – a small-time gangster who pre-1965 ran an outdoor cinema in North Sumatra, and whose penchant for the theatrical takes the film to unbearable limits.

To say that some of the scenes are bizarre is an understatement – a group of women dressed in the red-and-white of Indonesia's flag sing and dance below a waterfall as they thank their killers for sending them to heaven; the son of a real-life victim who plays the part of his father during the latter's execution.

At one point, Anwar and company dance the cha-cha on the graves of their victims.

'The Act of Killing' isn't exactly banned in Indonesia – it was never released here – but you can watch it on YouTube.

'Jagal: The Act of Killing' by Joshua Oppenheimer ~ The Full Movie on YouTube

Oppenheimer's chillingly gruesome film 'Jagal: The Act of Killing'.


The reaction from Indonesia's presidential spokesman for foreign affairs wasn't exactly positive about the documentary: 'The nation will address its past in its own time.'

For a solid crit, see Mark Kermode's piece in The Guardian. And to find out how this off-hand gem fits in with the rest of Indonesian cinema, take ten and check out 'Cinema Paradiso: The Story of Indonesian Cinema on Bali' by Ubud High.

The Balinese believe that a violent death and the absence of funeral rights leaves the soul in a tortured, untenanted limbo.

But it seems Petulu's white herons have come home to nest.


More at Ubud High ~ Cinema Paradiso: The Story of Indonesian Cinema on Bali »

From 1930's Nudie Cutie films to the Academy Awards, Ubud High takes a front-row seat to peer at Bali's place in the history of Indonesian Cinema... ➨

'Virgins of Bali', 1932, nudie-cutie film poster 1930s Bali

'Virgins of Bali' 1930's nudie-cutie film poster (1932).


Cinemas & Film Screenings in Ubud, Bali

Film Screenings at Black Beach Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, Ubud

Regular casual film-screenings are given for free on Black Beach's Top Terrace. Just walk up the stairs and relax.


Paradiso Cinema, Ubud

Billed somewhat bizarrely as The World's First Organic Vegan Cinema, the Paradiso cinema in Ubud is open for daily movie screenings, and is located on the popular Jalan Gautama ('Goutama') Selatan.

Paradiso Ubud boasts a large venue with a capacity of 150 seats, has a door-price of Rp.50,000 that can be redeemed against vegan snacks and healthy drinks – and if you want to order more during the film, all you have to do is raise your neo-colonial fist.

Gold-class Bali service; vegan-style raw cinema.


Old Bali Blog Posts

Share that shower, girls: Bali to enter a water deficit by 2015

Lock up your daughters: Muslim FPI hardliners planning to raid Bali turned away by Police


☬ The Really Old Bali Blog Posts ~ 2013-2015



Bali Street Art, Graffiti & Murals ~ 2021


Street art graffiti of the Hindu elephant-headed God Ganesha outside an Indian restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Street art graffiti of the Hindu elephant-headed God Ganesha outside an Indian restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.


© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.


The Last Pic

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High
Old Balinese woman, Trunyan village, Kintamani, Bali

© Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.


The Ubud Handbook ~ by John Storey

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.

The Ubud Handbook

Search Ubud High

Street art mural of a young topless 1930s Balinese girl using social media on a mobile cellphone painted by the street artist Wild Drawing in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Popular search terms ~
ganesha bali / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / bali street art / graffiti / murals / volcano / earthquake / trance / hornets / arma art gallery ubud / nyepi / traditional balinese paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever / ecstatic dance / indonesia


Ubud Market ~ 2021 Pandemic Images

Pasar Ubud market during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia
Pasar Ubud market in economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia
Pasar Ubud market in economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia
Pasar Ubud market in economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia
Pasar Ubud market in economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia
Pasar Ubud market in economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia

Street Art, Urban Murals & Creative Graffiti on Bali

Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, depicted as a spray-can- and roller-wielding street artist in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

➤ Bali's Street Artists, Murals & Graffiti in the Wild ~ From Canggu to Ubud

Street art, graffiti and murals for the masses – the most public of Bali's urban art scene hidden in plain sight on the walls of Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak and Kuta.

Street art and graffiti murals at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu near Old Man's bar and restaurant, Bali, Indonesia

➤ AllCaps Park ~ Street Art, Graffiti and Mural Paradise in Canggu, Bali

Bali street art - Graffiti and Mural Heaven at the AllCaps Park in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

➤ Taman Festival ~ Ghost Town Graffiti, Murals and Street Art on Bali

Urban art, murals and graffiti galore at the derelict and haunted Taman Festival Theme Park in Bali

Search Ubud High

Graffiti street art of a young 1930s Balinese girl looking at social media on her mobile cellphone in a mural near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Popular search terms:
ganesha bali / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / street art / graffiti / mural / trance / volcano / earthquake / hornets / arma gallery / nyepi / traditional balinese paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever / ecstatic dance / indonesia


Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions in Bali & Indonesia Today

The volcano Anak Krakatau erupting in the Sunda Strait, Indonesia

Gunung Anak Krakatau – the infamous 'Child of Krakatoa' volcano – erupting in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia.


And finally, the weather

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia

Today's weather forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia ⇨