News / Arts & Entertainment

Indonesia Massacre, Iran Sanctions Infuse Venice Film Offerings

The shoes of a model appear on the red carpet ahead of the screening of
The shoes of a model appear on the red carpet ahead of the screening of "La Rancon de la gloire" (The Price of Fame), 71st Venice Film Festival, Aug. 28, 2014.
Reuters

Films about a 1960s massacre in Indonesia and the harsh conditions in Iran under present-day international sanctions and how they affect ordinary people struck somber notes at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

A French caper based on a fictionalized version of a true story about the theft of Charlie Chaplin's coffin shortly after his death in 1977 was shown as another of 20 films in contention for the festival's top prize, to be awarded next week, and provided a macabre, touching and often humorous counterpoint.

Eugene Chaplin, Chaplin's son, said at a news conference he had been skeptical about cooperating on director Xavier Beauvois's “La rancon de la gloire” (The Price of Glory) because “I didn't see what could be funny about stealing a coffin”. But, after seeing Beauvois's films, “I thought, 'Why not?'"

American director Joshua Oppenheimer's competition film “The Look of Silence” is his second documentary based on death squads that roamed Indonesia in the wake of a failed communist-led coup attempt and killed as many as a million people. The first, “The Act of Killing” (2012), was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary category.

Asked at a press conference on Thursday why the credits for the new film, which had its premiere on Wednesday night, mostly read “anonymous,” Oppenheimer said the production crew was at risk if their identities were revealed.

“There is a grave political risk for anybody involved with the crew in Indonesia if their identities become known to the authorities, especially to the military and the paramilitary group that played such a prominent role in my previous film,” he said.

He also said that Adi Rukun, a traveling optometrist who meets with some of his brother Ramli's killers in the course of the new film, had to move to a different part of Indonesia due to concerns for his safety once the film was released.

Rukun, who is in his 40s, said he agreed to participate after seeing clips assembled by Oppenheimer that had showed him the magnitude and brutality of the killing, and convinced him the past had to be confronted to assure a better future.

“I only want the perpetrators to acknowledge and admit what they did and to acknowledge that they were wrong so that we would somehow be able to actually forgive each other and live together, that's all I wanted from those confrontations,” he said in remarks translated into English.

“We live in one community which is split by mutual feelings of suspicion and fear and I really want all of this to end.”

Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad said she had not had to film underground in Iran where her film “Ghesseha” (Tales) was shot, at least in part with a digital camera that with its grainy images emphasizes the grittiness of life in Tehran.

“The main thing is that the story, the project, needs to be accepted within the country, it needs to reflect peoples' lives,” she said after the film's first festival screening.

What it shows in a bleak and desolate-seeming Tehran is the lives of people with barely enough money to survive being made more miserable by a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, unemployment, drug addiction and spousal abuse.

In one case a functionary will not listen to an elderly former civil servant's plea to recoup crippling medical costs because the bureaucrat is more interested in taking a call from his mistress.

Also shown are the aimless and drug-scarred lives of young people who cannot get proper jobs, like a formerly promising university student named Hamed who was expelled for his political views and now drives a taxi cab part-time, helping chauffeur people to and from a center that helps battered wives.

Bani-Etemad, who is one of Iran's best known directors, said that the film was intended in part to show how the international sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program have had a devastating effect on daily life.

“The economic situation in Iran is critical and this is due to the embargo which actually penalized the people in the country,” she said. “Our children, who suffer from very severe diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis, are actually suffering from the consequences of the embargo.”

She urged people at “the international level” to realize that “international decisions always affect the people.”

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent — Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs

African Music Treasures