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In Prison My Whole Life

Posted January 26th, 2008 by

Yesterday (Friday) turned out to be the day I watched the most movies in a single day (three) at Sundance. So I’ll write several posts today.

William Francome was born December 9, 1981 in England, the same day that Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested for murdering a Philadelphia police officer. This confluence of events has impacted Francome his entire life. In Prison My Whole Life makes a powerful case that significant new evidence should result in a new trial for Abu-Jamal.

The film explores issues of racism in the criminal justice system and the impact it has not only on those directly impacted but on all of us. There are also several powerful interviews included in the film with Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, and Alice Walker, among others.  I’m reminded a bit of The Thin Blue Line, the 1988 film by Errol Morris. As in that 20-year old documentary, these filmmakers have apparently uncovered new–or previously undisclosed–evidence about Abu-Jamal’s case and thus become part of the story they are telling. I found In Prison My Whole Life to be an urgent and effective film.

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