Everyday Activist - The Nightcrawlers (Oscars 2020)

Posted on Friday, January 03, 2020 at 02:00 PM

The Nightcrawlers (Oscars 2020)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

The war on drugs has different meanings in the United States than in the Philippines. In the US, the guiding principles to wage war on drugs involves how to make the rich and powerful more rich and powerful. Jailing drug addicts and pushers enslaves a particular population while ensuring certain companies have preferential contracts to serve them during their prison stay. The 13th on Netflix goes into this in detail. The Philippines doesn’t have the same philosophy. They simply kill all the drug related parties.

Because power and economics drive government, I looked for those threads. On the surface murdering thousands of people doesn’t make sense, unless President Rodrigo Duterte got into power by promising to keep the streets safe. US presidents tend to also be elected when they take a “tough on crime” approach. Still the documentary suggested about thirty thousand people have been killed since 2016, which if they were a racialized group would be equated to genocide. Duterte’s televised speeches characterize the systematic murders of the Jews in World War II as a good thing.

National Geographic had access to the assassins outside of the police force. Killing creates more trauma for the families and the murders causing drug use to escalate to manage the pain of grief and loss in both groups, compounding the cycle. What’s worse is if the assassins mistakenly kill someone, the police will cover it up. I was so glad to hear that my dance teacher’s wife, two teenage sons and a young daughter made it safely to Canada from the Philippines as many of the victims were teenagers.

The Nightcrawlers are a tribe of journalists covering these murders. Photo exhibitions of the murder victims and their families have garnered attention from the international community. The President doesn’t feel he needs to answer to anyone, making their documentation essential to a healthy democracy. While the work is necessary, much like journalists in warzones, The Nightcrawlers suffer from devoting their time to catalogue senseless deaths mixed with mourning. As a community, they have each other to lean on for support, knowing that if they give up Duterte wins.

By changing hands, National Geographic has evolved over the years telling more human stories rather than strictly geographical ones, a trend I identified back in 2013, before the 21st Century Fox takeover. With Disney, they have a couple films making the Oscar 2020 shortlist. The Cave about a female doctor in Syria has made the documentary feature shortlist. The tradeoff is that National Geographic no longer supports events such as the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which is on thin ice if it doesn’t figure out how to be more inclusive. 

Calgary Showtimes: Nightcrawlers, The >


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