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December 14, 2013

DVD Releases: 'The Act of Killing' on January 7th

(via press release) - "The Act of Killing," the breakout documentary that won over audiences at such important film festivals as Toronto, Telluride, SXSW, True/False and Berlin (where it won the Audience Award) and went on to record-breaking box-office openings in New York and other major markets, comes to Blu-ray and DVD on January 7, 2014, from Drafthouse Films, in conjunction with Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM). The extras-filled discs contain both the original theatrical release and a longer director's cut. SRP is $29.95 for the Blu-ray and $27.95 for the DVD.

In this documentary by Joshua Oppenheimer and executive produced by documentary titans, Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Into the Abyss)and Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War), the filmmakers examine a country where Indonesian death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to reenact their real-life mass-killings via musical numbers, action and comedy sequences and other genres of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result of Oppenheimer's daring idea is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.

When the Indonesian government was overthrown in 1965, small-time gangster Anwar Congo and his friends went from selling movie tickets on the black market to leading anti-communist death squads in the mass murder of over a million people in one of the most overlooked genocides in recent history. The film ventures deep into the minds of the now-elderly killers and how they face the deadly acts they've done in a society that doesn't ask them to.

The film has been championed by critics for its innovative and uncompromising approach, including Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote, "The Act of Killing could well change how you view the documentary form," and Tom Charity for CNN, who said the film is a "radical development in the documentary form and as an explosive journalistic expose." The Village Voice called the film "a masterpiece" and "essential viewing," and Janice Page of The Boston Globe says "The Act of Killing is one of the most extraordinary films you'll ever encounter, not to mention one of the craziest filmmaking concepts anywhere." Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post called it "a must see. Audacious, brilliant and boldly experimental...The Act of Killing breaks so many rules of documentary decorum that it virtually creates its own genre." Writing at Slate, Dana Stevens called the film "among the most profound, formally complex and emotionally overpowering documentaries I've ever seen."

Texas native Joshua Oppenheimer has worked for over a decade with militias, death squads and their victims to explore the relationship between political violence and the public imagination. Educated at Harvard and Central Saint Martins, London, his award-winning films include The Globalization Tapes (2003, co-directed with Christine Cynn), The Entire History of the Louisana Purchase (1998, Gold Hugo, Chicago Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival), These Places We've Learned to Call Home (1996, Gold Spire, San Francisco Film Festival) and numerous shorts. Oppenheimer is Senior Researcher on the U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Council's Genocide and Genre project and has published widely on these themes. He is currently based in Copenhagen.


Special Features on the Act of Killing release will include:

Two versions of the film: 122-minute Theatrical Cut and 166-minute Director's Cut
45-minute interview with director Joshua Oppenheimer on Democracy Now!
VICE Presents: Executive Producers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris on The Act of Killing
Deleted scenes
Trailers
40-page booklet featuring an essay by Executive Producer Errol Morris
Audio Commentary with Director Joshua Oppenheimer and Executive Producer Werner Herzog

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