The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 25-March 3

02/25/2015 8:00 AM |

The Farm Angola USA

The Farm: Angola, USA (1998)
Directed by Liz Garbus, Jonathan Stack, and Wilbert Rideau
The Louisiana State Penitentiary is located on former slave plantation grounds. The bulk of the inmates in the U.S.’s largest maximum-security prison were at the time of this film’s making (and still are today) impoverished black men serving life sentences. Documentarians Stack and Garbus explored “The Farm” in the company of the journalist Rideau, who had then been housed there as an inmate for over three decades. Their resulting work presents portraits of six prisoners (four black and two white) who are calmly interviewed and observed during the course of one year. Some have long since admitted their guilt and, despite having reformed, still seek clemency fruitlessly; another presents strong evidence of his innocence twenty years post-conviction and is nonetheless denied parole by a taciturn board. A recently condemned young man details how he cannot file a legal appeal until his family raises the money needed to buy copies of his court transcripts. The film asks through plain, simple study of these men: For what, exactly, are they being punished? Aaron Cutler (Mar 3, 8pm as part of Stranger Than Fiction’s Winter 2015 series at the IFC Center, with Liz Garbus in person)