Ava DuVernay made a massive splash with Selma, a powerfully made historical drama about racial inequality that tackles a pivotal moment in America’s past. In a meta twist, the film became one of the focal points of a massive social media outcry against the predominately white-male dominated Hollywood awards season.
And it appears that DuVernay is not through with tackling race issues in America, and doing so at a time when this could not be more relevant. However whereas she previously used a dramatization of historical events, for her upcoming film 13th, she will be keeping things completely realistic.
Produced by Netflix, this upcoming documentary takes its name from the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution which 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.” In case you just glossed over that quote, let me break it down for you: Slavery is bad and outlawed… unless you’re using it to punish somebody, in which case it’s completely legal.
It’s dichotomies like those that DuVernay looks to uncover in this doc, which examines how slavery of African Americans has essentially just evolved into the current US prison system. The very same system which incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world, the majority of which tends to be people of colour. It’s certainly an intriguing and incensing topic, particularly in the current racially charged atmosphere in America as the Black Lives Matter movement sparks daily debate. With DuVernay’s impassioned skills behind the camera, this should make riveting viewing.
Check out the trailer below.
13th will debut at the New York Film Festival on this coming Friday, becoming the first non-fiction film to ever do so. A week later, on October 7, it will debut on Netflix as well as receive a very limited theatrical release.
Last Updated: September 28, 2016