Films: Give Up Tomorrow

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Give Up Tomorrow

Give Up Tomorrow

USA, 2011, 95 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: United Kingdom
Genre/Subject: Documentary
Program: Documentary Films
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Michael Collins
Producer: Marty Syjuco
Editor: Eric Metzgar
Cinematographer: Joshua Weinstein
Principal Cast: 

Although his teachers and classmates could place him in Manila some 300 miles from the scene of a grisly crime in 1997, Paco Larrañaga (along with six others) was found guilty of rape and murder and remains in jail today. Ensnared in what emerges in this stunning documentary to be a nightmarishly bizarre series of developments, the former culinary student faces the camera with a matter-of-factness that belies his frustration.

Recognized by Amnesty International, Fair Trials International, the UN Human Rights Commission, and the government of Spain as a major miscarriage of justice by the Philippine legal system, the case continues to make headlines—but, after more than a decade, there has been no resolution. Though a recent campaign to move Paco to a jail in Spain (his father is a Spanish citizen) was successful, he is still incarcerated with little hope of freedom. Still, he refuses to capitulate: “If you need to give up,” he says, “give up tomorrow, but don’t give up today.”

Director Michael Collins and producer Marty Syjuco, a relative of Larrañaga's, have put together striking video footage and tabloid news coverage that let the case’s multiple discrepancies speak for themselves, including an inflammatory re-creation of the crime that was aired on national television before the trial. But the filmmakers didn’t stop there, interviewing many of the key players in the wild true-crime story—among them Paco’s family and the mother of the murdered girls—over the course of their seven-year journey in search of the truth.
—JULIET SHERWOOD

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