From director Ava DuVernay, who in the past masterfully told the story of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the auteur is once again focusing on issues relating to race in this country and specifically how many people believe that the prison system is a form of modern day slavery.
13TH - named after the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which declared 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 any place subject to their jurisdiction" - many have been left to ponder if that inclusion of "crime" in the amendment has always left open a loophole to continue the persecution of African Americans in this country.
The film is the first-ever nonfiction work to open the New York Film Festival. Of the pick, NYFF director Kent Jones said, “While I was watching 13th, the distinction between documentary and fiction gave way and I felt like I was experiencing something so rare: direct contact between the artist and right now, this very moment. In fact, Ava is actually trying to redefine the terms on which we discuss where we’re at, how we got here, and where we’re going. 13th is a great film. It’s also an act of true patriotism.”
13TH will debut on Netflix on October 7.