Ava DuVernay has been breaking new ground everywhere she goes, and when the New York Film Festival begins next week she'll do it again. For the first time ever a documentary will kick things off, and that doc is none other than DuVernay's The 13th, which explores the subjects of mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, and how both things disproportionately affect African-Americans, because they damn sure do.
So what does "The 13th" stand for? The 13th Amendment of our Constitution prohibits slavery, except "except as a punishment for crime." The film asserts, and I would agree, that this has been exploited to allow for racial inequality when it comes to incarceration, which is why African-American neighborhoods are targeted by cops when crimes are committed by other races equally. It fosters a "mythology of criminality", and I think we heard this false idea trumpeted by Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump when he recently called for a nationwide expansion of the unconstitutional "stop and frisk" police tactic.
The poster sums it up quite nicely: "From slave to criminal in one amendment." Wow. The 13th premieres at NYFF on September 30th as the opening night film, then hits Netflix on October 7th.