FILM IS ONE of the many things we can revel in and enjoy due to freedom of expression. The freedom of expression here in the Philippines is of transcendental importance that it is even a fundamental right guaranteed in our Constitution.
So, in line with the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, let us shift our perspective through the eyes of different journalists as they fight tooth and nail to deliver the truth to our homes. Here are some films and documentaries that capture the essence of freedom of expression and the press:
The Post (7.2/10)
The semi-fiction historical-political thriller gained fame with its big stars and controversial topic. However, The Post encompasses a deeper insight into the Washington Post and its persistent actions to reveal the truth and publish the Pentagon papers, the specific records of their involvement in the horrific Vietnam War, and other related documents during their involvement in the French Indochina.
With its grey areas being explored, you’re only left on the edge of your seat as you wonder whether they will do the right thing and expose these aristocracies. It’s a film that gives you a particular perspective on the average life of a journalist. Steven Speilberg showcases just how heavy the choices journalists make once they’re in a situation where their life is on the line.
A Thousand Cuts (7.6/10)
World-renowned journalist Maria Ressa comes forth and bare about a journalist’s situation in a country that continues to paint her in the wrong color. A Thousand Cuts shows the rawness of how dangerous it is to be in the shoes of a journalist, precisely one who the government is repeatedly silencing for only trying to speak the truth.
A Thousand Cuts serves as a cautionary tale to many of how society will only crumble and be reduced to nothing if we become easily susceptible to the lies and deceits of the internet, especially if a populist strong man manipulates it behind closed doors. Ramona Diaz perfectly encapsulates this in this documentary and you’ll find yourself wary and awake the whole time. A documentary like no other indeed!
All the President’s Men (7.9/10)
Scandals during the 70s seem relatively common, as this film (based on a popular book) is another true-to-life tale of the Watergate scandal itself. It is a scandal that led former President Richard Nixon to resign his post as his country’s chief executive. This biographical-political drama thriller made waves and impact as it showcased the notable efforts of two outstanding journalists as they tried to put uncheck power in its place. After all, you’re going after the government’s skeletons in their closets!
This film contributes to the discussions of press freedom and, to this day, receives accolades and praise for its raw performance and script. In fact, in 2010, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
It truly gives you the lens of how scary and taut the industry is. Journalism is not for the faint of heart!
The Killing Fields (7.8/10)
A heart-wrenching and eye-opening film, The Killing Fields zeroes in on the aristocracies committed during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, specifically the budding friendship of two journalists who seem so different yet at the same time, so similar in likeness.
The killing fields elicit different emotions to the watcher. You’ll come in unaware and when you walk out, you’re outraged by the aristocracies committed. Although the film centers on two journalists, the film evokes more knowledge of true-to-life autocracies and dictators trying to steal freedom of speech. It’s a film that’ll leave you uncomfortable — and for the right reasons!
Page One: Inside the New York Times (6.9/10)
One of the most well-known papers in the world tells all with this documentary. With the fast-paced and ever-changing society, Page One exhibits the ways that traditional and print media has been subject to fit a cathartic environment. As the internet continues to become part and one with the masses, media is also revitalized, and where exactly is journalism now?
If you’re looking for something fresh and want some additional knowledge, Page One is an entertaining and relatively accurate portrait of the newsroom — it gives you a sense of enlightenment, so give yourself an hour or two to look through it!
It’s vital for us to pay tribute and continue to celebrate these journalists as they are the very front in the fight against oppressors and absolutists. Whether it may be a biography or a film about their lives, honoring them means respecting and acknowledging the sacrifices they make for us to live in a harmonious and free society!