Through the Wire

A shocking and powerful documentary by Nina Rosenblum–narrated by Susan Sarandon and shot by Haskell Wexler-about the recent “experimental” torture and attempted brainwashing of three women prisoners in a federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky. Each woman was arrested for political activity, given an unusually long prison sentence, and then isolated in a basement cell for almost two years, kept under 24-hour surveillance, periodically awakened several times a night, and strip searched daily. Though this horrific unit was eventually shut down by court order after the protests of human-rights groups, the ruling was overturned last fall. Many more such prison units are now under construction. The three prisoners who underwent this ordeal because of their radical political involvement (in support of civil rights, Puerto Rican nationalism, and the antiwar movement) show a great deal of lucidity and resilience about their ordeal, in spite of the severely debilitating psychological and physical effects of the torture. One regrets the use of “simulations,” even though they’re identified as such, to demonstrate some of the prisoners’ treatment, because their use shows so little trust in the imagination of the audience. But this is still a remarkable look at part of what Bush’s “kinder, gentler” nation is up to, and something you aren’t likely to hear about elsewhere. A Chicago premiere. (Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont, Thursday, June 21, 7:00 and 9:00, 281-8788)

Published on 15 Jun 1990 in Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

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An American doctor (Blair Brown) living and working in London meets a mysterious and romantic stranger (Bruno Ganz) while vacationing on the Continent, and he proceeds to woo her back in London. Eventually she discovers he’s not everything he seems to be, and under the additional pressures of Thatcher cutbacks in national health and a faltering relationship with her younger sister (Bridget Fonda) who lives with her, her life gradually spins out of control. Written and directed by David Hare (Plenty), this is the sort of so-called woman’s picture that could only have been conceived by a man; although it remains sincere, fairly watchable, well acted, and otherwise competent throughoutat least up to a somewhat muddled conclusionit proves to have more windup than delivery. With Alan Howard and Hugh Laurie (1989). (JR)

Published on 01 Jun 1990 in Featured Texts, by admin

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