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Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Thousand Cuts - 2020 LAAPFF Documentary Review



The Documentary: A Thousand Cuts

The Director: Ramona S. Diaz

The Story: A look at how Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte uses social media to spread disinformation.


The Review:
Philippines president Rodrigo Roa Duterte is basically a dictator who uses lies and manipulation to gain power, consolidate power, and control as much of the country's population as possible. He uses a so called war on drugs to instill fear into the rank and file, poverty stricken segment of the citizenry. Any attempt to expose his lies, or make any move that might show the levels of corruption his administration is involved in is met with attacks via social media and even from the man himself.

Maria Ressa is the CEO of and a journalist for Rappler, a media organization that is dedicated to truth, democracy, and freedom of the press. Because of this stance, Rappler and Ressa herself are constantly under attack by Duterte and the various cronies he has placed in his community of corruption. This documentary shows the steadfast bravery and dedication to the aforementioned principles as she is harassed and mocked via social media and televised events. The online hatred is quite brutal and yet she navigates the storm with a grace and confidence that is inspiring. Even when she gets arrested for whatever's Duterte and his people can dream up.

I really liked how deep into this ongoing battle director Ramona S. Diaz is able to dive into and the level of intimacy she is able to bring out in conversations and just being a fly on the wall creates a very engaging experience. The director manages to show the humanity of each person for better or worse and you understand where each of them is coming from whether it's Dutarte's schemes and plans or one of Rappler's reporters as they deal with events they are covering.

One of the things that is also very apparent is just how similar in mindset and political approach Duterte is when stacked up against our own want to be dictator here in the states. They both use lies to create a fictional reality that is filled with false nationalism and a singular sense of what is true based ironically on the layers of lies. It's amazing to me that there are people who follow these men on any level as it seems so easy to see through their parlor tricks and how all they are doing is protecting their power base and stealing as much money as they are able for as long as they can.

All that being said, what I really took from this film is how, in the face of crumbling democracy, there are people who stand for justice and will do everything they can to keep freedom at the forefront of a country's core values. Maria Ressa is a hero. She is a hero who has been honored and awarded by so many organizations around the world and I believe that she will continue to fight against Duterte's corruption for as long as he is allowed to rule.


To see more reviews, interviews, and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at LAAPFF 2020.


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