Peru at the Movies: The Fall of Fujimori

June 24th, 2010

Ali Ryder presents the forth in a new series of articles, Peru at the Movies. Did you know there are dozens of films that either take place in or heavily feature Peru? Some are locally produced by Peru’s independent film industry, some are products of Hollywood, but each in some way revolves around the very special country that is Peru. Get planning your Peruvian movie nights!

The Fall of Fujimori, 2005 (Documentary, English, directed by Ellen Perry

By Ali Ryder

Alberto Fujimori was the very controversial president of Peru from 1990 to 2000. He was controversial because although he built many roads and schools, ended the terrorist threats of the Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, he also suspended parliament, created very harsh anti-terrorism laws, severely restricted human rights in Peru, and headed a government accused of corruption and far worse.  Currently, he is sitting in a prison in Peru for crimes against humanity.

Who is Fujimori really? He portrayed himself as the funny little “Chinaman” who was always friendly and looking out for the people.  His wife reported on camera that he was a better actor than the professionals in Hollywood. His right-hand man, Vladimiro Montesinos, is undoubtedly a bad guy – who is certainly responsible for death squads, embezzlement, drug trafficking, assassinations, bribery, and arms running. It could be argued that Fujimori was wilfully ignorant of Montesinos’ activities; one testimony said that when Montesinos reported to Fujimori about these illicit activities, Fujimori responded that he “didn’t want to know. It could also be argued that Montesinos had to run everything by Fujimori, or it could be said that Montesinos had complete free reign and even Fujimori didn’t know what he was up to.

This documentary is a very thought-provoking account of what happened in the 1990s in Peru. What the climate was when Fujimori stepped into office, his reaction to terrorism, the emergence of scandals, and the evolution of his presidency are all laid out in a fairly neutral manner that really leaves the viewer to form their own opinions about what is and what can never be, justified. An excellent movie, although a bit graphic at times.

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