Vanderbilt to screen award-winning film The Fall of Fujimori; Director of movie about controversial Peruvian leader to attend screening

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Fall of Fujimori, the complex story of a former Peruvian president who is fighting extradition from Chile on charges of corruption, murder and human rights abuses, will be screened Sept. 27 at Vanderbilt University. Ellen Perry, director and producer of this award-winning documentary, will attend the screening, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Room 103.

Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants, had remained virtually silent after leaving Peru in disgrace in 2000, but he did talk extensively with Perry while he was hiding out in Tokyo as a fugitive ex-president. During the interview, he describes his meteoric rise to power through a grassroots campaign that built a strong connection to Peru’s poor citizens. He said that he took strong action to avoid a violent revolution and save democracy in Peru – even though he had to suspend democracy to seize dictatorial powers in his “self-coup.” He blames his lieutenants for the instances of corruption.

Nearly five years after leaving Peru for Japan, Fujimori suddenly appeared in Chili on a tourist visa in 2005, vowing to return to Peru and run for president again. Peru’s National Election Board rejected his bid in January of this year, and he faces extradition to Peru for charges that include authorizing a paramilitary death squad accused of 25 murders.

Also interviewed in the documentary are Peruvian journalists, Fujimori’s oldest child, the former head of Peruvian National Intelligence, a former U.S. ambassador to Peru and others. The Fall of Fujimori, which has been screened in more than 40 film festivals with its world premiere at Sundance in 2005. It received a documentary screenplay nomination from the Writers Guild of America this year.

Edward Wright-Rios, assistant professor of history, was instrumental in bringing Perry to campus. “We wanted to show The Fall of Fujimori because it is a very accessible entrée into complex problems in Latin American Studies,” he said. “On the deepest level we have a society that is still riven by ethnic and class divisions largely rooted in the colonial period, and these have been carried over into powerful leftist revolutionary movements employing terrorist tactics.”

He noted that until Fujimori was in power, the Peruvian political establishment was not capable of coping with the spread of these movements. “To tame these revolutionary movements and bring economic stability, Fujimori turned his back on democracy and adopted harsh authoritarian measures. Moreover, the corruption and human rights abuses carried out behind the veil of anti-democratic politics undid his presidency and threatened to undo his achievements. In short, it forces us to think hard about what shelving democracy in the name of security produces.”

The screening of The Fall of Fujimori is the first in a series presented by Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies. Co-sponsors of the series, which is free and open to the public, include the Department of Political Science, Center for the Americas, Film Studies Program and University Lectures Committee. All films are in English or subtitled in English. For more information, call 615-322-2527.

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 615-322-NEWS

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