Archive for February, 2013

“The Act of Killing” received the 2013 Berlinale Panorama ecumenical Prize.

The horrifying and brilliant film, The Act of Killing is one of the best films I have ever seen.

It has now received the 2013 Berlinale Panorama  audience award and ecumenical Prize

Read the acceptance speech here:

The perpetrators we filmed in Indonesia destroyed other human beings for money and for power. This greed, unfortunately, is all too human. After killing people, the perpetrators felt trauma, even remorse. This, too, is human. And so they needed excuses, propaganda, so that they could live with themselves, so that they could kill again, and then go on to build a regime on the basis of terror, lies, and the celebration of mass murder. 

The new dictatorship quickly obliged, making up lies to rationalize what they had done. Through these lies emerged a distorted morality to justify evil, even to celebrate it. 

Among the most effective of these lies is that the victims were atheists, and that non-believers have no place among the living. The killers themselves know that their victims were not atheists. And we know that it does not matter. But in Indonesia, atheism is still equated with evil. And this remains a pillar in the justification of genocide. THE ACT OF KILLING has been accused of being a film by and for atheists.

Since International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012, The Act of Killing has screened hundreds of times in Indonesia, in more than 90 cities. It has helped give rise to a national conversation in which, finally, the silence around the genocide has been broken, and Indonesians are openly discussing how today’s regime of corruption and fear is built on a mountain of corpses. Necessarily, the distorted morality, in which the victims are represented as “evil” atheists, is starting to crumble. 

We thank the Ecumenical Jury for this prize: it is an important contribution to our effort to break the silence. In itself, this award exposes lies that have, for so long, been used to justify crimes against humanity, to stigmatize survivors, to keep people afraid. Your decision to give this award to THE ACT OF KILLING confirms that when religion is used as a justification for crimes against humanity, it has lost its moral foundation. 

We thank you. Indonesia thanks you.

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