13th is One of the Best of ’16

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma, Queen Sugar) is noted for her storytelling ability through strong visuals and fascinating characters. Her most recent film, 13th, references that amendment to the Constitution and makes the case that the it’s being used as a means of controlling and keeping down certain populations much in the way slavery did. A provocative topic, to be sure.

The film opens with a few facts: there were 300,000 people incarcerated in the US in 1970. Now that number is 2,300,000. And that 25% of the people in the world who are incarcerated, are incarcerated in the United States. But it’s complicated…

I’m still processing the experience of watching 13th, but my initial thoughts: extraordinary, illuminating, visually arresting, educational, completely different, eye-opening, eye-catching and beautiful in dealing with an often depressing, frustrating and distressing subject matter.

Really, really short review: A must. For all of us. It’s one of the best docs I’ve seen from 2016 – and perhaps ever. With the film making the shortlist for an Oscar nomination, I’m hopeful it will be among them on January 24.

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