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A look at the life of imprisoned political activist and former Black Panther member, Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose death sentence for killing a police officer was overturned in 2001 due to errors made during his original 1982 sentencing hearing.
The documentary presents Mumia Abu Jamal as either an unrepentant cop killer or a political prisoner. A number of news and commentaries are initially presented which argue for the former position. These are followed by the lion's share which argues his revolutionary past. Many of his supporters present his words and arguments claiming he is a political prisoner. Many of the awards he has received during his lifetime are noted throughout. Missing is any real evidence of his innocence. Written by
I grew up in the Philadelphia area, and both of my parents were born and raised in Philadelphia as well, so I was more than familiar with Mumia's story. That is - the one the media wants you to know.
I never really gave it much thought. As a child and teen, I just assumed, rather ignorantly, that what I was told was true. I also never understood why everyone was so interested in the case after so many years and a conviction had passed. But as I grew, I was able to educate myself more, and in doing so my opinions changed.
The best documentaries are the ones that draw emotions. If, afterwords, I don't feel angered or inspired or enlightened, then the doc and the filmmakers didn't do what they intended. There is nothing worse than a bad doc, but there is nothing better than a great one. Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu Jamal is a GREAT documentary. It made me angry, it made me sad, and it made me what to run out of the movie theater and DO something.
What I loved about the doc, besides it's ability to draw emotions from viewers, is that it told a story that we aren't familiar with. If you're familiar with Mumia, then you know all about the case, so 2 hours worth of "this-is-why-he's-innocent" really wouldn't have swayed you one way or the other. But Steve took a different, and I believe more powerful, route, to tell Mumia's story. He showed us the Mumia that our media and government want to silence, and by doing so, Steve has given Mumia an even more powerful voice.
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