Death by a Thousand Cuts

Death by a Thousand Cuts

  • USA, Dominican Republic
  • 73
  • 14A
  • Juan Mejia Botero
  • Jake Kheel
  • Jake Kheel (Producer)
  • Ben Selkow (Producer)
  • Juan Carlos Castañeda (Cinematographer)
  • Adriana Pacheco (Editor)
  • Daniel Miller (Music)

When the body of park ranger Eligio Eloy Vargas is found in the Dominican Republic’s Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, his brutal murder sparks an intense investigation. It leads us deep into the illicit world of charcoal production run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests. With breathtaking cinematography, this powerful film presents the stark contrast of an island shared by two countries, revealing a Haitian side that’s been completely deforested in glaring contrast to the Dominican’s protected woodlands. But all is not what it seems. Exploring the complex socio-political issues and tensions between the two nations—including border unrest, scapegoating and xenophobia fueled by the recent anti-immigration policies passed by the Dominican Republic—the film bears witness to an alarming cycle of ethnic civil conflict and international violence. We see that the lives of Dominicans and Haitians are deeply entangled, and both teeter on the brink of catastrophe. Heather Haynes

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