Joshua Oppenheimer Masterclass

One hour is too little time, Joshua Oppenheimer said to me, when we met to prepare the masterclass with him here in Sarajevo, where a tribute was given to him in connection with the festival’s Dealing With the Past theme and program, organised by Masa Markovic.

I was to be the moderator, the easiest job I have had for a long time, as Oppenheimer is such a brilliant speaker – and we got almost 2 hours for the class, that followed just after the screening of The Look of Silence, described as the companion piece to ”Act of Killing” that was shown the day before. How can a man, who has met his audience hundreds of times in the decade he has been making these Indonesian films, keep on being so committed and enthusiastic and respectful to his audience. Amazing!

He talked a lot about the gentle, sympathetic Adi (photo), the protagonist of The Look of Silence, the alter ego of Oppenheimer, and the way he was able to make the perpetrators talk about the killings they performed in 1965, including the one on Adi’s brother. The film is full of intimate, long silent scenes with the camera on the beautiful face of Adi, and for me – having seen the film several times – especially the scenes with Adi and his mother and father are emotionally so strong. The father who at the end does not know where he is without knowing that Adi is his son.

About lies, boasting, why Anwar suffers every night from what he has done – that he shows in ”Act of Killing” – and much much more from the intelligent Oppenheimer. Read all the words we have written on these two masterpieces here:

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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