HotDocs ’22: The Killing of a Journalist

Directed by Matt Sarnecki,?The Killing of a Journalist?begins with the brutal murder of Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fianc?e, Martina Kusnirova in February of 2018. Having built a reputation for investigating financial improprieties amongst the elite, Kuciak had begun to focus his energy on exposing suspected criminal Marian Kocner which, unbeknownst to him, put him in increasing danger. After Kuciak?s death, the potential cover-up by police and government officials infuriates the people and inspires them to protest the injustice unfolding before their very eyes.

Although Killing of a Journalist begins with the (literal) killing of a journalist, so too does it expose a far greater evil. Featuring testimonies and footage from police investigations, Journalist uncovers a conspiracy that quite literally extends all the way to the highest parts of Slovakian government. Honest and terrifying, this expansive tale of the criminal underworld unravels the strength of one man?s grip on a nation as he is allowed navigate his own system of leadership and justice, without concern for the law. Corrupted police investigations, bribed judges on the take and paid assassins reveal the horrifying realities of anarchic ruling powers and their effect on the people. However, it also means that Journalist contains all the elements of the best Hollywood dramas and makes for riveting viewing from start to finish.

What is most interesting about the film though is its concern for the truth. As the public rally behind his family, Kuciak?s death comes to symbolize the death of truth within the walls of their own country. For the people of Slovakia, this tragic murder exposes the desire of a corrupt system to hide secrets at the expense of those who want to bring them into the light. All of a sudden, these events inspire the people to demand truth and justice. As a result, their public outcry helps spark a movement that shakes the entire system to its core, exposing the corruption that lies embedded deeply within it. 

The Killing of a Journalist?is now playing at HotDocs ?22. For screening information, click here.

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