The 2014 murder of a transgender Filipino woman by a US Marine provides the jumping-off point for this potent and eye-opening documentary, which delivers history lessons about America’s presence in the Philippines, the latter country’s transgender community, and the rise of dictator Rodrigo Duterte. The movie isn’t overwhelmed by any of these subjects; director PJ Raval fluidly interweaves them into an effective nonfiction legal drama that charts the fallout of the murder and the Marine’s subsequent trial. Raval also paints a commanding portrait of Meredith Talusan, a transgender Filipino-American journalist who devoted years to reporting on the case. Her tireless efforts to make the world know about the murder—and what it reveals about unchecked American privilege—prove her to be an exemplar of journalistic integrity. In English and subtitled Tagalog.
By Ben Sachs