Search      Translate
with Jesus

13th (2016)13th (2016)

This infuriating documentary by Ava DuVernay (Selma) takes its title from the 13th Amendment of the Constitution that formally abolished slavery on December 6, 1865: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."  But the reality of the last 150 years tells a different story.  America has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. We have about 5% of the world's population but about 25% of the world's prisoners.  The film examines the mythology of black criminality, lynchings, segregation, and in particular the dramatic rise of the mass incarceration of blacks since the 1970s, the so-called "war on drugs," and mandatory minimum sentencing.  In the late 1970s there were about 350,000 Americans in prison; in 2014 that figure was 2.3 million.  Black men face a 1 in 3 chance of spending time in prison.  Prisons have thus become our new plantation.  The film is somewhat formulaic — it combines archival footage and photographs, a blizzard of statistics, and commentators like Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates, Jelani Cobb, Charles Rangel, Bryan Stevenson, Van Jones, and Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow).  But that hardly detracts from its power.  13th opened the New York Film Festival in 2016, then was released on Netflix a few months later.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rating of 98%.  I watched this film on Netflix Streaming.

Copyright © 2001–2024 by Daniel B. Clendenin. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla Developer Services by Help With