Mixed Media

A trib­ute to film­maker Joshua Op­pen­heimer at CCA

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPOS -

Hello dark­ness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.

— Si­mon & Gar­funkel, “The Sound of Si­lence”

Film­maker Joshua Op­pen­heimer, the Santa Fe-raised MacArthur fel­low­ship win­ner whose doc­u­men­tary about the 1965-1966 In­done­sian geno­cide, The Act of Killing, was Os­car-nom­i­nated in 2014, re­turns to his home­town this week­end with a com­pan­ion film screen­ing at the Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts (1050 Old Pe­cos Trail, 505-982-1338). “The Look

of Si­lence,” said Op­pen­heimer, “is a re­minder that peo­ple’s lives in In­done­sia con­tinue to be ru­ined be­cause they’re not able to work through what hap­pened. The film is try­ing to show what that si­lence looks like.” With these two films, Op­pen­heimer has been not only doc­u­ment­ing history but mak­ing it. He shrugs off that man­tle (“That sounds grander than I’m com­fort­able with,”) but ac­knowl­edges that change in In­done­sia has come about “in part be­cause of these two films. Peo­ple are talk­ing about the geno­cide as geno­cide. But also, peo­ple are talk­ing about the thuggery and cor­rup­tion that have come to dom­i­nate In­done­sia’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic life as a re­sult of the on­go­ing power of the per­pe­tra­tors.” More than 300,000 peo­ple have crowded screen­ings in In­done­sia, de­spite po­lice-sanc­tioned threats of vi­o­lence. “It’s made ev­ery­one ac­knowl­edge ex­actly the si­lence we’re talk­ing about, the suf­fer­ing that sur­vivors have been forced to en­dure, and for the per­pe­tra­tors, fear of their own guilt, which still di­vides ev­ery In­done­sian from his or her neigh­bor. So I would say these si­lences are bro­ken, and the de­bate is grow­ing, as the film draws at­ten­tion around the world.” The new film was fin­ished be­fore the re­lease of the first, and since then Op­pen­heimer has not been able to re­turn to In­done­sia. “I don’t think I’d be de­nied a visa. I would prob­a­bly get in with­out any trou­ble, but the best that I could hope for would be to be has­sled by of­fi­cials, and the worst is that I wouldn’t get out alive. So I don’t go back.” On Satur­day, July 11, at 1:30 p.m., a di­rec­tor’s cut of The Act of Killing will screen with Op­pen­heimer in con­ver­sa­tion with Paul Barnes ($12). On Sun­day, July 12, at 4 p.m. in CCA’s Muñoz Wax­man Gallery, Op­pen­heimer will be in­ter­viewed by David Barsamian: $50 in­cludes en­try to the in­ter­view and The Look of Si­lence screen­ing with Op­pen­heimer and a spe­cial guest via Skype di­rectly af­ter the in­ter­view, at 5:30 p.m. ($12 for just the screen­ing). — Jonathan Richards

Di­rec­tor Joshua Op­pen­heimer

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