A tale so outrageous, unjust and unbelievable that it could only be true, Give Up Tomorrow is a jaw-dropping tale of corruption in the Filipino courts. Documenting the trail – if such a term can even be applied – of Paco Larranaga, a man, amongst seven others, sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, director Michael Collins chronicles the investigation, prosecution and the decade long quest for justice that followed, as Larranaga is persecuted on all sides by a sensationalistic media, bloodthirsty public, corrupt judiciary system and the vindictive relatives of his supposed victims.
Collins’ makes great use of on-screen text, archival footage, newspaper headlines and various other documentary staples, (as well as editing and music) to generate suspense and indignation in this already gripping and at times utterly mind-boggling story. Time and time again, just as it seems as though the situation couldn’t get any worse for Paco, it does, as the futility of one family fighting a system rotten to it’s very core becomes painfully and undeniably clear.
By the end of Give Up Tomorrow – a title that gains a greater and more powerful significance once you have watched the film – audiences will have gasped, cried foul, shook their heads and possibly cried tears of anger, frustration and sorrow. But mostly, they will have thanked god that they weren’t as unlucky as Paco Larranaga.
Give Up Tomorrow plays again at the Melbourne International Film Festival on Saturday July 30th. Tickets can be purchased from the MIFF website here.
Tom Clift is a web-based film journalist from Melbourne, Australia. Visit his website here: http://reviewsbytom.blogspot.com.
You can read all of Tom Clift’s coverage of MIFF 2011 here.
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