13th review: Ava DuVernay directs one of the best films of the year
Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix documentary 13th is a powerful work, an important film for the times we live in and one of the best movies of the year.Updated: Jan 01, 2017 12:17 IST
Director - Ava DuVernay
Rating - 4.5/5
“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.”
- The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
In a film full of impassioned voices — intellectuals, politicians, activists and former inmates — there is one voice that is more resounding than any. It is the only voice that doesn’t speak. It is the only voice we never hear. But through her images and sounds, director Ava DuVernay brings the necessary anger, the controlled outrage, without which this film couldn’t have been as enormously important as it is.
The image is a powerful medium to inspire change. It is definitive. You only believe what your eyes can see, and then, confronted with proof, the questions and the doubts that you once had, are quelled. Without ever saying it outright, DuVernay’s film, about mass incarceration in the United States, is also about these images.
It traces the history of injustices against the black community, from the iconic image of slave Gordon, his back whipped so mercilessly that it became almost reptilian, to cell-phone footage of police brutality in 2016.
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