The Look of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer returns to Indonesia for a sequel to his acclaimed documentary The Act of Killing (2013), which dealt with the government slaughter of more than a half million citizens as part of an anticommunist purge in the mid-1960s. Documentary sequels are rare, and good ones even more so; The Look of Silence couldn’t possibly equal its predecessor—which included a series of jaw-dropping movie fantasies staged by former executioners—but it’s still a wrenching and unforgettable experience. Adi Rukun, an optometrist whose brother died in the purge, travels around the country giving free eye examinations as a means of approaching the old men who did the government’s dirty work 50 years earlier. Their responses to his increasingly pointed questions range from denial to pride (one aging monster brags that he drank his victims’ blood), which proves that eyeglasses are useless when people refuse to see.