The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

Brett Story / 2016 / 87 minutes / United States

In this remarkable documentary, filmmaker Brett Story excavates the often-unseen links and connections that prisons – and our system of mass incarceration – have on communities and industries all around us; from a blazing California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires to a Bronx warehouse that specializes in prison-approved care packages to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of new prison jobs to the street where Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson (and to the nearby St. Louis County, where African-Americans are still fending off police harassment, but of a different form). The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a film about our criminal justice system in which we never see a penitentiary.



• Purchase the educational DVD here.



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  • "This film by Brett Story is a wonder... It’s a real work of art, but the kind of art that can only be made by someone who understands the deep under-structures of carceral society, carceral geography. The film is beautiful, sad, poetic, and funny."

    — Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room and The Flamethrowers
  • Critic's Pick! "An unexpectedly moving look at the elements of the confinement industry that hide in plain sight."

    The New York Times
  • "It's rare that a film this outraged is also this calm.... Ava DuVernay's 13th indicted America as a machine built to dispense with black men — and to generate profit from this. Prison examines the pain that is that machine's other chief output."

    Village Voice
  • "An ingenious, prismatic approach… subtly and artfully registers how mass incarceration affects society in ways the public can’t always see."

  • "Fascinating. An unsentimental look at the ways prisons shape life outside their walls."

    The Hollywood Reporter
  • "A profound and political film that, while not sensational, is quietly shocking."

    Filmmaker Magazine

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