Ava DuVernay’s Netflix film ’13th’ reveals how mass incarceration is an extension of slavery - The Washington Post
Slavery technically ended over 150 years ago. But Ava DuVernay wants you to take another look at the amendment that abolished it.
Her documentary “13th” is a powerful look at how the modern-day prison labor system links to slavery. The film, which premieres on Netflix and in select theaters Friday, offers a timely and emotional message framed by the upcoming election and the Black Lives Matter movement.
[Review: Ava DuVernay’s ‘13th’ explores the intersection of racism and criminal justice]
“13th” received a standing ovation last week at the New York Film Festival, where it became the first documentary to open the prestigious festival. The title refers to the 13th amendment, which formally abolished slavery. But DuVernay zeroes in on the amendment’s exception clause, which states that slavery and involuntary servitude are illegal “except as a punishment for crime.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, DuVernay said she initially sought to make a documentary that explored “the idea that there are companies making millions of dollars off the punishment of human beings.” But the documentary inevitably turns to current conversations about the criminal justice system and the fatal police shootings of African Americans.