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The Fall of Fujimori
The Fall of Fujimori
Actor: Alberto Fujimori
Director: Ellen Perry
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 23min

The Fall of Fujimori is a character-driven, political-thriller documentary that explores the volatile events that defined Alberto Fujimori?s decade-long reign of Peru: His meteoric rise from son of poor Japanese immigrants...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Alberto Fujimori
Director: Ellen Perry
Creators: Ellen Perry, Junji Aoki, Mel Henry, Kim Roberts, Robert Mailer Anderson, Stephen Moffitt, Zack Anderson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Biography
Studio: Cinema Libre
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/05/2006
Original Release Date: 05/05/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 05/05/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A brilliant cinematic portrait of a corrupted leader
D. Denoff | new york, NY United States | 09/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A.O. Scott, the principal film critic for The New York Times, called The Fall Of Fujimori 'Excellent' in January, 2006 when the film had its theatrical premiere at Film Forum in Manhattan. Based on this, and other rave reviews, I braved long lines in New York to see this film on the big screen and it blew me away.

I am very pleased that it is now on DVD.

Filmmaker Ellen Perry has chosen a subtle, restrained cinematic brush to paint a devastating portrait of Alberto Fujimori. Rather than hitting us over the head with any possible preconceived opinions, (a la Fahrenheit 9/11) Ms. Perry respects our intelligence and lets us draw our own conclusions from her exploration of Mr. Fujimori's path.

This film doesn't try to be a history lesson. It's a portrait of how power can corrupt and, of course, of the risks to democracy in pursuit of the abolition of terrorism. Indeed something in which we Americans are now well involved ourselves.

Other films which explored the perils of power like "The Fog Of War" and "Idi Amin Dada" were equally compelling and yet they didn't have the finesse and elegance of "The Fall Of Fujimori."

Ms. Perry has the eye and the story sense of a feature filmmaker, and uses this to carefully explore the actions of Fujimori, The Shining Path, and their impact on Peruvian society. The subtleties of the film's editing and the haunting musical score further serve to create a foreboding mood.

For example, the opening sequence, showing Fujimori packing his own bags, putting on makeup (!) and rolling his own luggage alone down a hotel hallway paint a clearer a picture of where Fujimori is today than any ranting editorial could.

We see Fujimori as a tragic figure - not a victim in any way - but a leader, who like so many others corrupted by power truly believes that he is right in his actions. We are not asked to sympathize with him - we may even revile him - but we are left to make our own decisions as to the correctness of his actions.

On the DVD, check out Ms. Perry's commentary - it's also wonderful.

Better than Our Brand Is Crisis
Katherine Keirns | North Carolina, USA | 01/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I basically stumbled onto this film after having watched the aclaimed film "Our Brand Is Crisis" about American professional political operatives working in the presidential campaign in Bolivia. While the latter is, while important as a political film, barely watchable from a storytelling point of view. "The Fall of Fujimori" is a fascinating character piece with moments that are so absurd that you can't help but laugh in that uncomfortable way that so many great documentries do.

I like to think of myself as well versed in international politics, but I knew very little about Peruvian politics beyond the Japanese Embassy siege and the horrific legacy of the Shinning Path in the countryside. The film assumes a certain amount of knowledge of South American politics in general, but is very watchable even with that that. With the addition of the excellent director's commentary track I feel like I have a good idea about the way that country works and more importantly will not be surprised when Keiko Fujimori comes to power as I am now sure she will once she reaches to minimum age to run for president.

I think it is mistake to assume that this is a simple story of a CIA backed regime because it is blatently obvious to me that if Montesinos--the brutal and ultimately stupid egomanic behind Fujimori's security apparatus--ever did work for the CIA, he wasn't at the time of the Fujimori government. It seems more likely that that he was in the pocket of the narco-traffickers that he had defended as a lawyer prior to his involvement with Fujimori.

I suspect the CIA did have a part to play in the destruction of Montesinos, and through him Alberto Fujimori, but that was indirect by leaking evidence of the massive corruption to the Peruvian press. At best Fujimori's government distant ally to the United States in latin America, but the minute that Montesinos was discovered to be trafficking arms to the same Columbian government the US has been spending billions of dollars to fight... he became counter productive to US interests in the region.

It would also be a mistake in my mind to make a simple equation that Fujimori's Peru battling terrorism has a direct parallel to the US battle with Al Queda. As the director points out in the commentary track, the US has much stronger institutions than Peru did and still does. What I think it is more instructive of is the undercurrent of right wing politics in Japanese politics that is often hidden behind the vener of the post-WWII pacifist constitution. Fujimori became a rock star to people who wanted a strong Japan and longed for a strongman Japanese figure. I wonder if they will so readily embrace his daughter Keiko as she emerges as the next "strongman" in that family.

All in all I think what I can say most about this film is that I have already watched it several times--something not always the case with documentaries--and found new and interesting parts of it each time. Even stripped of it's place as a political film, it is still a fascinating character study that will outlast the particular winds of the current War on Terror."
The Fall Of Fujimori
Diana L. Mercer | Los Angeles, CA | 07/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great documentary. It puts a sharp focus on both the success and the foibles of a very controversial South American leader.It also acts as a cautionary tale about the "tunnel vision" of a government obsessed with a single goal while ignoring or in some cases encouraging the damage this attention brings about.
Lots of great historical footage brings perspective to the madness.

Diana Mercer is the co-author of Your Divorce Advisor and her company is [...]
William Cordova | harlem, NY | 02/08/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The Fall of Fujimori by filmmaker Ellen Perry is a disappointing documentary in that it fails to mention or elaborate any critical information of Peru's long history of political corruption or any popular resistance movements since Tupac Amaru II (1780). Leaving the viewer with an 84 minute synopsis of former President Alberto Fujimori's 10 year self imposed coup. There is brief information about Fujimori's persona or family past. Director Ellen Perry assumes Peru is only Andean and Spanish and completely fails to mention that Peru's 2 million and counting Chinese and Japanese population has been thriving in that country for the past 300 years. There is no information given on the guerilla group Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement's long history except a biased and ill informed Peruvian Reverend's comments which are at best dismissive. The facts are that the MRTA was well organized, its rank and file were former military men and its leaders ranged from grass root organizers to academic intellectuals. Then there are the obvious gaps like Fujimori's agreement to participate in the documentary and his influence on Director Ellen Perry's decision to exclude video interviews with Fujimori's wife and son, though we do see his son's video footage implicating Fujimori and Montezino of their plans to illegally eradicate candidates running against him. Ellen Perry creates an environment of ambivalence with Fujimori's comments and involvement with his "death squads" during his entire 10 year coup. No FBI or Human Rights documents acknowledging his direct involvement is ever presented instead Director Ellen Perry focuses on Fujimori's right hand man "Montezino" as the bad guy, the evil maniac, the "escape goat." Perry draws FBI and Video footage to condemn Montezino and no video interview is ever proposed with him or any former Fujimori cabinet member. Terrorism in Peru has always existed through Government oppression on the general public. Resistance against this oppression has always existed. The difference with Fujimori and Peru's previous Presidents is that he committed mass murders for 10 years. The Shinning Path was equally criminal for their wanton murders of random people but these parallels are not thoroughly brought up or addressed in Ellen Perry's documentary. There are many sides to Fujimoris criminal history and this film does not properly reveal any versions or facts. What this film does is to give the viewer a glimpse of a spring cleaning that lasts for 84 minutes.

I suggest The Battle for Chile by Patricio Guzman to really understand the many versions that exist in South American politics as well as reading literature on Alberto Fujimori from writers who have accurately researched this topic."