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Movie Review
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Film Discussion / Analysis: 13th Documentary, 2016 (Movie Review Sample)


Film: 13th, Documentary
Required Reading resource:
Final Essays
You need to submit a minimum of 1500 word, maximum of 2000 word essay at the end of each of the three units. You will not lose or gain points for writing more or less, as long as your submission stays within 1500-2000 words. You can score a maximum of 20 points for you final essay.
• 1500-2000 words, Times New Roman 12 pt

• Works cited at the end of your essay. (Not included in Word count.)

• Use any citation style (MLA/APA) as long as it is consistent.

Assignment Prompt: Analyze one film from the given unit in detail, using at least two of the mandatory readings from the unit. The reading provide a theoretical context for your analysis. Use them as a lens to analyze the film. Choose a combination of one film and readings that enable you to present an argument that addresses a thematic aspect of the course in a meaningful way. Your overall argument should examine how specific aspects of the film or texts intersect with course themes that could include ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, race, otherness, refugeeism, and other structures of identity. How can this film be seen in context of theoretical concepts on (im)migration, refugeeism, multi-culturalism, the diasporic, transnational, intercultural for example. In each of the three essays, try to cover different themes/keywords/issues/ that you have engaged with in the course, to demonstrate your range of expanding knowledge of concepts, terminology and understanding of the subject. In your analysis you may consider social, political, cultural, historical, technological, environmental and/or economical contexts to enable a deeper discussion on the film as a cultural text. Is there a way of relating the local or national context of the film to the global or vice versa? A personal voice and style is encouraged, however ensure a balanced approach to the study, avoiding personal bias as far as possible.


Film Analysis: 13th Documentary, 2016
Film Analysis: 13th Documentary, 2016
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was meant to ensure an effective abolishment of slavery and involuntary servitude with the exemption of penalty for a crime where the individual involved shall have been convicted (Carter Jr, 2006). However, this clause has been criticized on many occasions concerning today's criminal justice system. The U.S. prisons are modern day slave quarters instead of being correctional facilities for crime convicts. In DuVernay's documentary, 13th, modern prisons are characterized by large-scale manual labor activities, including manufacturing, corporate warehouses, and even sweatshops (DuVernay, 2016). These are forms of cheap labor by which the prisoners can neither support nor enjoy under all circumstances. The 13th is an interesting and enlightening documentary that shows that the injustice system in the United States is yet to completely evolve from the slavery days in history. The number of black people in America is about five percent of their total number in the globe, yet more than a quarter of prisoners in the world are blacks in American prisons. The prison system in the U.S. has become a part of life for many non-native Americans. The Netflix documentary, 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay presents the complex prison system with a focus on how modern prisons are misusing the 13th Amendment loophole.
According to the documentary, the war on drugs has intensified from time to time since Nixon's presidency. During his time, Nixon termed the African-Americans as a menace to the rest of the American society. His presidency thus created a system that had black Americans apprehended without direct implication of injustices in the U.S. criminal system. The justice and criminal systems during Nixon's presidency advocated for drug war instead of a war on black Americans. The war on drugs was upheld during Reagan's presidency and other presidents up-to-date. Today, the war on drugs wholly directed to the Americans of African descent, yet most consumers of illegal drugs in the United States are whites in the middle class. Although the Black American communities are associated with poverty and structural inequalities, those living in urban areas such as New Jersey and California are not the primary beneficiaries of the illegal drug trade industry. It is evident that both state and federal U.S. administrations use the war on drugs to purposely put black people in prison. Having as many black people as possible in prison has become a private venture. The 13th documentary is based on historical occurrences which significantly influenced racial and criminal injustices in the American history.
The overall picture of the documentary is that black lives matter. The aim of the 13th amendment was to grant all former slaves a legal human status, but with a condition. According to Duvernay (2016), the clause states that: “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 place subject to their jurisdiction.” Thus, only those who committed a criminal offense could be enslaved, otherwise, slavery was illegal. It also means that black people can be re-enslaved. A large proportion of convicts in prisons in the United States were white until the 13th Amendment was implemented. It was after the amendment when things changed and prisons become majorly for the black Americans. They could be fined or put in prison for the least crimes such as “petty theft, vagabondage, and lack of keeping a steady job” (Duvernay, 2016). Those who could not afford t...

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