The Work

The Work

MojibMojib   October 06, 2017  
News (0)
The Work movie

Movie info

TITLE
Confirmed and upcoming movie titles only! Search before adding to avoid dupes.
YEAR
The year the movie is set to be released.
2017
DIRECTOR
GENRE
Pick one or multiple movie genres.
DESCRIPTION
The Work has no talking heads and no explanations—the SXSW Grand Jury award-winning documentary is italented filmmaking at its best. McLeary and his producer and brothers Miles and Eon McLeary sat down with No Film School to talk about getting access, shooting vérité in prison conditions, and how even the most seemingly immovable people can change.

The Work is an intensely raw, emotional tour de force set inside California’s notorious Folsom State Prison. Filming within a single room, director Jairus McLeary follows the facility’s rehabilitation program – courtesy of The Inside Circle Foundation. The project documents a four-day group therapy retreat between three volunteers from outside and the jail’s convicts. These prisoners are mostly violent offenders with one having attempted to literally cut a man in half, and others being former gang members. The Work is hard-hitting and gritty, with its beauty deriving from the fact that it looks past the sensationalism and towards the emotional redemption of all individuals involved.
The gang and racial affiliations that otherwise define much of life behind bars are left at the chapel door by the participating prisoners. Their willingness to put aside tribal divisions speaks volumes about the hierarchy of the yard and the rules of survival. Not only do a former Aryan Brother, a onetime Crip, an ex-Blood and a member of the prison-system-wide Native American Brotherhood sit together, but they listen to each other.

Jairus McLeary: It was a very long process. The three guys that started the Inside Circle Foundation became family, like uncles. Rob Allbee is what you would call an OG. My dad's an OG. That means they experienced, in their early lives, a lot of the things the convicts have experienced. So they kind of juiced. I called Rob for a year straight and he was just kind of like, "Yeah, yeah, that sounds interesting. Okay, bye, son," and hang up the phone.

The film’s focus on the therapy, rather than a scandalised portrayal of incarceration, is deeply satisfying and differentiates it from other prison documentaries. Folsom’s therapy sessions are cathartic and powerful releases that resemble primal therapy. Some of the convicts and volunteers must be physically restrained as they relive past traumas and shame. They scream, sob, collapse into foetal positions and a physical altercation almost breaks out twice, but they also nurture and cradle each other during these moments. The prisoners listen to each other and guide each other towards confronting their demons and moving towards a morally just and healthy life. It’s brutally honest, but also genuinely gripping and moving.

And it’s the way the men watch one another and listen, the way they’re fully present, that fuels the documentary. Every interaction has a visceral immediacy as well as a focused mindfulness, all of it illuminated in the dynamic camerawork of cinematographer Arturo Santamaria and his team, as well as Amy Foote’s astute editing.

Closing titles inform us that 40 convicts have been released after participating in the programme and none of them have returned to prison. Often gruelling, always compelling, The Work powerfully underlines the ability of documentary to transport the viewer to places they would otherwise never encounter. There are brief scenes of tranquility as we witness a sun rise or chickens feeding as a new day dawns. It is the only reminder of the outside world and the only respite from the claustrophobic confines of Folsom.
WHERE YOU WATCH

Where you watch Email alert

Receive an email alert when the movie is online.

Reports

No downloads or streams have been reported.

Videos Add media

The Work - Official Trailer
The Work - Official Trailer

Movie News

There are no member news items for this movie.
To write a comment please register or