After making a 3-hour fiasco about New York City's water supply, a two-man film crew decides to take it up a notch by documenting life in the private investigator offices of "Boone and ... See full summary »
Four Black women, all of whom have suffered for lack of money and at the hands of the majority, undertake to rob banks. While initially successful, a policeman who was involved in shooting ... See full summary »
F. Gary Gray
Jada Pinkett Smith,
Vivica A. Fox
A disc jockey invites a relationship therapist as an on-air guest. They explore LA relationship struggles through three different callers' unbelievable stories, and in the process the DJ discovers his own love issues.
Unhappily married Diane wants what her married friend Russell has- and she is not shy about letting him know it! Her husband Dontae suspects there is more to their friendship, and there's no telling what he may do.
Two friends purchase a winning lottery ticket, only to have it stolen by a Woman while she is robbing the cafe in which they are having lunch. The Woman is caught and sent to prison, having... See full summary »
Jean-Claude La Marre
Michael A. Goorjian,
Women prisoners strike up a friendship with a young law student who works as a part-time prison guard. Together they discover that a corporation funds and is profitting from the plantation-like work environment they are forced to work under. In a botched attempt to organize a protest against their "slave labor", the women take over the prison - A rare glimpse of the effects of the prison industrial complex on female inmates. Written by
L. J. Allen-2 (Leslye Allen)
As others have stated, there is a backstory to Civil Brand that is probably more dramatic than the film itself. To sum it up in as few words as possible: Black women directors have a difficult road to travel to see a feature film made.
The film is definitely not a masterpiece, but the attempt at telling a story about African American women in prison is a great one. The film makes a point of comparing prison labor to US Slavery--and for good reason, it is certainly free labor, with poor working conditions.
The narration by Da Brat is overkill, but because many scenes were never filmed, I'm sure it was an attempt to make the story cohesive. Lisa Raye was surprisingly decent and Monica Calhoun and Lark Voorhies did what they could with their supporting roles, but N'Bushe Wright was one of the most interesting characters to watch. She has great screen presence and excellent delivery. Hopefully we're able to see more of her.
Civil Brand is not a great movie. It's filled with stereotypes and cliches--but it does bring a new and interesting point of view on women in prison. It's definitely worth renting or catching on television.
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