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October 7, 2016

This weekend's must-watch: 13th, Ava DuVernay's new documentary linking slavery and mass incarceration

As noted in this prior post, my screen time last weekend was devoted to my favorite bi-annual sporting event. And I suspect much of this weekend will be focused on one of my favorite annual playoffs. But the must-watch for this weekend is on a much more serious set of subjects, the US history of slavery and its echoes within mass incarceration. These are the topics covered in a new Netflix documentary, which YouTube describes in this way along providing this preview:

The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “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.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis. On Netflix October 7.

I would be excited to watch this new documentary even if it did not receive strong reviews.  But, as these reviews/headlines highlight, I am not the only one thinking this new doc is a must-watch:

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, a notable negative review makes me even more eager to watch and re-watch this new doc:

October 7, 2016 at 09:38 AM | Permalink


Based on the trailers, it looks a bit reductionist, but absolutely something people should be aware of.

Posted by: Erik M | Oct 7, 2016 3:21:53 PM

Watched the first half this morning, will complete later. Gripping and devastating indictment of the history, and as the debate surrounding the issue of mass incarceration accelerates and deepens (hopefully), this documentary should play an important part in informing the growing awareness of the public, politicians and legislators alike.

Posted by: peter | Oct 9, 2016 4:28:56 AM

Finished viewing just now. While of course nothing new in the history, right up to the present day, this documentary brings the sorry story bang up-to-date and presents it in a context which is surely impossible to ignore. Kudos to Netflix for sponsoring this important and compelling documentary.

Posted by: peter | Oct 10, 2016 2:47:38 AM

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