Documentary Review: ‘A Thousand Cuts’

Review by James Lindorf

Freedom of the press is part of the United States constitution’s first amendment and is crucial to any successful democracy. Nowhere is democracy under attack more than in the Philippines. The attacks are fueled by social media disinformation campaigns and attacks on traditional journalists led by the authoritarian regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. “A Thousand Cuts” is produced, written, and directed by Ramona S. Diaz (IMELDA, MOTHERLAND) and focuses on Duterte enemy number one Maria Ressa. Maria has put her freedom on the line in defense of truth and democracy.

Maria and the other journalists who are willing to stand up and share the truth about the President’s war on drugs are called vile names and threatened with death. That’s coming from the public who support Duterte, but they are not the only ones seeking to punish Maria. Duterte’s administration is threatening her with eight counts of violating a new cyber libel law that could end with her spending the rest of her life in prison. Their bravery cannot be commended enough and provides a valuable lesson for people around the world. When the government becomes an advisory of the press and tries to bully it into altering its coverage, it requires fast and decisive action. Without it, they will eventually look for more permanent ways to silence the journalist they can’t intimidate. You can see these confrontations taking place in several countries like Brazil, Russia, and the United States, making “A thousand Cuts” a film that will resonate with millions of viewers.

Diaz currently lives in the states but frequently makes documentaries about her home country. Being a known quantity allowed her to access some of Duterte’s most prominent supporters, which adds nuance and credibility to the film. Her access allowed her backstage at pro-Duterte concerts, at political events, it even allowed her to film inside of a prison. When you let both sides share their point of view, the audience gets to decide which side is on the right side of history. There is no doubt about how that question should be answered, but both parties’ inclusion will protect the film from scrutiny.

A Thousand Cuts is expertly crafted and riveting from beginning to end. This potential Oscar winner has been a part of nearly every major film festival and will continue to delight and terrify audiences in theaters and at home starting on August 7th.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.