Saturday, May 22, 2021

Human Rights Watch Film Festival Spotlight: Apart

Directed by Jennifer Redfearn
Screening Information

The idea of being separated from one’s children is a very difficult concept, one that can affect relationships tremendously and alter the trajectories of the lives of all involved. A proven inability to proper care for someone can result in the removal of that privilege, something many might argue should not be the role of government or law enforcement since no one can truly know or understand the bond between a parent and a child other than those two people. This heartfelt, poignant documentary focuses on three mothers, Tomika, Lydia, and Amanda, who have been incarcerated as a result of their opioid use and are preparing for release and the opportunity to be reunited with their families.

This film takes a distinctly personal approach to a nationwide issue, addressing both the prevalence of addictive drugs and the problematic nature of the system created to temper it that ends up punishing people in a far more lasting way than they perhaps deserve. It doesn’t pretend to offer easy, neat solutions, but instead shows the very real process of rehabilitation and the extraordinary work being done by Malika, an advocate who herself was once incarcerated, to help others cope and develop as they begin their re-entry into the world. It should be challenging for anyone to watch this film and not reexamine their own beliefs about what accountability and self-development are supposed to look like, and how the unintended consequences of criminal justice can be far-reaching and irreversible.


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