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Explore the early short films directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, the Oscar nominated director of THE ACT OF KILLING and THE LOOK OF SILENCE. This collection includes the following titles:
These Places We Used to Call Home (31′) 1996
The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (49′) 1998
Stop for a Minute (1′) 2000
Market Update (1′) 2003
The Globalisation Tapes (68′) 2003
Muzak (3′) 2004
The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase is an imaginative and innovative film essay which combines faux and real documentary with lyrical fiction to paint a monstrous yet beautiful portrait of America at the end of the millennium. With unflinching originality, the film meditates humorously on faith, myth, scapegoats, the idea of the alien, the end of the world, and the beginnings of redemption…. Oppenheimer's monstrous yet charming 'history of my country' is written by a poet, sweet and dark, joyous as the wet rats who save themselves from drowning in the film's last sequence…. It opens a genre of film as revelatory and intelligent dream, stimulant of social memory, and means for re-examining the relationship between fact and fiction, historical truth and social myth.
The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase
Seemingly inexorably, the corporate pillage of the planet continues apace but so, thankfully, does the protest, not least amongst Indonesia's export plantations, the focus of this extraordinary DV document devised, written and produced collectively by the seriously-informed members of the Independent union, Perbbuni. The film deploys Godardian text graphics, reappropriation of Western commercials, role-play, and interviews to analyse the devastating impact of neo-liberal economics on millions. In Indonesia's case, this has unfolded against the legacy of Suharto's genocidal US-backed dictatorship (an on-screen interview with a former death squad member is revelatory in its depiction of mundane evil). Marking a major leap forward in activist image-making, the film is a truly radical, always accessible, and often beautiful call to think globally but act locally.
The Globalisation Tapes
Born in Texas, raised in New Mexico and Washington, D.C., Joshua Oppenheimer came to Indonesia through The Globalisation Tapes (03, co-directed with Christine Cynn), a film about unionization efforts in Sumatra. His experimentation with filmmaking was present already in two works made during his years as a Harvard undergraduate: the hybrid all-American tabloid apocalypse The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (98) and These Places We've Learned to Call Home (96), for which Oppenheimer went undercover with American militia groups.
Interview: Joshua Oppenheimer
Joshua Oppenheimer was born in Texas in 1974. While completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard, he began to make a series of imaginative films that laid the groundwork for his Indonesian documentaries. These Places We’ve Learned to Call Home and The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase focused on characters nearly as volatile as the paramilitaries in his recent films; they were stories about religious fundamentalists, antigovernment militiamen, and science fiction fanatics, told through incisive interviews and fantastical images. It was while making The Globalization Tapes, a film about the exploitation of plantation workers in Sumatra, that he got the idea to apply the fever-dream aesthetic of his early films to the stories of men like Anwar Congo.
An Obstinate Memory: The Documentaries of Joshua Oppenheimer