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
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' 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
☬ The Really Old Bali Blog Posts ~ 2013-2015
- Dutch colonial massacres in Indonesia from 1945-1949, and compensation from Holland [Updated 2020]
- 'Liger' killed after Bogor sex attack
- Will she or won't she? Miss World cancelled on Java
- Make mine a large one, Chief: Aceh orders schoolchildren to self-measure their genitalia
- Share that shower, girls: Bali to enter a water deficit by 2015
- Joshua Oppenheimer's film 'The Act of Killing' nominated for an Oscar
- Lock up your daughters: Muslim FPI hardliners planning to raid Bali turned away by Police
- Monopoly money: Indonesian rupiah is Asia's worst-performing currency
- Selamat pagi! Christian ward-chief unwelcome in Jakarta for not using Arabic greetings
- Did the earth move for you? Minor earthquake jolts Ubud
- Who let the cat out of the bag? Schapelle Corby granted parole from Kerobokan Prison
- Dad, which one's the brake? 13-year-old rock-star's son kills 7 with car
- Indonesian public officials fired for crystal meth use
- A right royal send-off: The Queen of Ubud's cremation ceremony
- Forest fires rage on Bali's Mount Agung
- Mummy! West Balinese coffee farmer finds 2,300-year-old sarcophagus in coffee plantation
- Nag or Stallion? Chinese Year of the Horse, 2014
- Whirlwinds and heavy weather hit Bali's Denpasar
- No God, no job: 19 government workers fired for not turning up to Friday prayers
- Santa no-fly zone: Aceh hardline Muslims ban Christmas
- 10th anniversary of Asian Tsunami
- Cosmic counter-balance? Chinese Year of the Horse starts with a bang
- Sanur security guard strangled by python outside Bali Hyatt Hotel
- Ask questions later: Indonesian terror police gun down six in Jakarta
- East-West car crash: Balinese man strangles woman on nude cruise liner
- Paddling in Sanur: Floods hit south Bali's beachside tourist resort
- Australian mother and daughter die of suspected food-poisoning in Padangbai resort, Bali
- A lion named Michael: Another animal dies at the Surabaya 'Zoo of Death'
- Bootleg 'arak' kills three in Buleleng, North Bali
- Bad timing: Frenchman arrested for cocaine possession in Kuta, Bali
- Batten down the hatches: Bad weather in store for Bali in January 2014
- The Russians are coming!! Ex-soviet tourists flood Bali...
- Tears in Paradise: A photo exhibition of Bali's mentally ill
- Flaming cash: Indonesian rupiah on world list of 'Fragile Five' currencies
- Watch out! There's a foreigner about...
- Ashes to ashes: Devastating fire at Clear Cafe on Ubud's Jalan Hanuman
- High life, low life: Australian brothers Scott O'Hehir and Timothy O'Hehir from Perth guilty of GBH in Kuta, Bali
- Monster price-hike: Price of Indonesian gas/petrol rises by 33% overnight
- Snuff it or get snuffed: Illegal forest fires burn out of control on Riau
- Waitreeeess!! Australian tourist detained on flight from Brisbane to Bali
- British woman murdered in Junjungan villa, Ubud
- Dead guilty: Guy cheats on wife and drives off Denpasar bridge
- Strictly off the menu: Magic Mushrooms illegal in Bali (2021 Update)
- Eat, Pray... Crash
- A sleeping giant wakes: Sumatra's Mount Sinabung erupts
- Up, up... and away! Price of Indonesia's Visa on Arrival (VOA) rises by 40%
- The Blues have it? Indonesia goes to the polls
- Open-and-shut case? American woman found dead in suitcase outside Nusa Dua hotel
- Hungry Mouth To Feed? VS Naipaul pulls out of Ubud Writers' and Readers' Festival
- Earthquake Time Again: 7,3 hits Sulawesi and Maluku
- Russian thief arrested for stealing souvenir at Tanah Lot
- Just another meltdown: Indonesian rupiah plunges to pre-1998 crisis levels
- Down: AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashes into Java Sea
- US Security Warning For East Java
- Australian Security Warning For Bali
- The Long Goodbye: Six drug traffickers executed in Indonesia
- Very Important Ape: Paris Hilton pays a visit to Ubud's Monkey Forest
- Bali Nine or the Magnificent Seven? Australian drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to be executed in Indonesia
- Bye-bye beer: Indonesia bans alcohol from convenience stores
- Australia vs. Indonesia, Round 9: Handbags at Dawn
- Rabies Returns to Ubud in 2015
- Indonesia: Alcohol prohibition
- This restless earth: Sumatra's Mount Sinabung on highest alert after eruptions
- 8-year-old Engeline - 'Angeline' - murdered in Sanur, Bali
- Australian surfer Nicholas Langan facing four years in Bali prison for smoking marijuana joint
- July 7-11, 2015: Dog-poisonings and widespread dog-culls in Ubud and Sukawati, Bali
- Flights cancelled at Denpasar International Airport due to eruption of Java's Mount Raung
Bali Street Art, Graffiti & Murals ~ 2021
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
© Ubud High.
© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.
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Gunung Anak Krakatau – the infamous 'Child of Krakatoa' volcano – erupting in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia.