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'13th' - Oscar-nominated doc examines legacy of slavery

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'13th' - Oscar-nominated doc examines legacy of slavery

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‘13th’ is ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary.

‘13th’ is ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary.

The film is named after the thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution that abolished slavery in 1865, but included a legal loophole that essentially allowed it to resume in a different form.

The director sets out to expose the links between slavery and the current US penal system – the essence of her argument is that the freedom of black people represents a threat to the systems that profit from them.

DuVernay draws a direct line from the abolition of slavery, through the chain gang labour that replaced it, segregation and the war on crime and drugs that has resulted in mass incarceration in the US, where prisons are big business.

Relying on eloquent interviews and well-sourced archive material, DuVernay offers an intelligent and lucid examination of the legacy of slavery.

‘13th’ is nothing less than essential viewing for anyone trying to understand the current political climate in the United States.