Politics In Film Essay

Politics In Film Essay-29
Starting in the 1940’s, the curve of the prisoner count graph begins rising slowly though steeply.

Starting in the 1940’s, the curve of the prisoner count graph begins rising slowly though steeply.A meteoric rise began during the Civil Rights movement and continued into the current day.This movie also shows the relationship between the executive branch and the legislative branch while detailing the relationship the president has with interest groups, and his White House staff.

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Director Ava Du Vernay’s takes an unflinching, well-informed and thoroughly researched look at the American system of incarceration, specifically how the prison industrial complex affects people of color.

Her analysis could not be more timely nor more infuriating.

Our journey begins from there, with a slew of familiar and occasionally surprising talking heads filling the frame and providing information.

Du Vernay not only interviews liberal scholars and activists for the cause like Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates and Van Jones, she also devotes screen time to conservatives such as Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.

The list feels endless and includes lynching, Jim Crow, Nixon’s presidential campaign, Reagan’s War on Drugs, Bill Clinton’s Three Strikes and mandatory sentencing laws and the current cash-for-prisoners model that generates millions for private bail and incarceration firms.

That last item is a major point of discussion in “13th”, with an onscreen graphic keeping tally of the number of prisoners in the system as the years pass.There are many accurate depictions of the political process in this movie, but there are also some areas where this movie was just being a people pleaser.The American President accurately portrayed the rolls of the media, the effects of polling, the impact of primaries, and it showed the process of introducing a bill to congress.This movie wasn't all optimism though, it also criticized some politicians for muckraking and it criticized the media and the American public for thinking that the private lives of politicians is their business.The media plays a key role in The American President."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." –Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution When the 13 amendment was ratified in 1865, its drafters left themselves a large, very exploitable loophole in the guise of an easily missed clause in its definition.That clause, which converts slavery from a legal business model to an equally legal method of punishment for criminals, is the subject of the Netflix documentary “13th.” Premiering at the New York Film Festival, “13th” is the first documentary to open the festival in its 54 year history.The duly convicted part may have been questionable, but by no means did it need to be justifiably proven.So begins a cycle that Du Vernay examines in each of its evolving iterations; when one method of subservience-based terror falls out of favor, another takes its place.Profit becomes the major by-product of this cycle, with an organization called ALEC providing a scary, sinister influence on building laws that make its corporate members richer.Several times throughout “13th” there is a shock cut to the word CRIMINAL, which stands alone against a black background and is centered on the huge movie screen. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation”, Du Vernay traces the myth of the scary Black felon with supernatural levels of strength and deviant sexual potency, a myth designed to terrify the majority into believing that only White people were truly human and deserving of proper treatment.


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