Ellen Perry, ‘The Fall of Fujimori’

The Nominees: Documentaries

“I was initially inspired by the Japanese hostage crisis in 1997,” Perry says. “It went on for four months, ending with all of the rebel insurgents being killed — some say executed — after surrendering. All the hostages but one survived. And as the years passed, I thought of making a film as Fujimori’s regime collapsed.”

“The Fall of Fujimori” depicts the rise and fall of the former Peruvian president who took on terrorist insurgents and won, but ultimately lost it all in a regime ridden with corruption and widespread slaughter of its own citizens.

Perry’s film resembles a real-life version of a Costa-Gavras thriller. And the heart of it is her script. “Before I shot a frame, I had compiled years and years of research. I interviewed over 60 people. And then I had interviews with Fujimori.”

The high point of that interview comes when Fujimori glances at footage of the embassy rescue/massacre, and asks Perry to rewind it. “Here was the guy who masterminded the attack, and he hadn’t watched that footage for years,” says the filmmaker. “And for him to stop it and time it on a stopwatch — wow!”

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