Just ahead of its premiere this coming weekend at the New York Film Festival, Netflix has released a trailer for Ava DuVernay’s new documentary 13th. The Selma director’s latest project sees her exploring the American prison system and the nation’s high incarceration rates; as the title suggests, there will be parallels made between the modern state of imprisonment and that part of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution about slavery being abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
It’s unfortunate how topical the subject matter remains, but if the film’s trailer is any indication, 13th will stand as a scathing indictment of a system doing disservice to people at a staggering number of levels. In a recent interview, DuVernay expressed how her “hope is that the movie gets people thinking about these issues more deeply and holding whomever they vote for accountable, or making people want to vote … This is a turning-point year, with where we are as a country, our race relations. It’s going to be important to know how we got to this place. The question will be what happens from here.”
It’s the first documentary to ever open the NYFF, if its necessity and relevance could be of any question. In any case, and regardless of one’s political leanings, 13th should be on your must-see list for the remainder of 2016, and will be available to stream on Netflix starting October 7th.