900 Women | Chicago Reader

900 Women

The opening sequence of this moving video documentary (2000, 72 min.) shows a mother cuddling her child, but then director Laleh Khadivi cuts to a shot of her empty handcuffs, underlining the human cost of incarceration. With sensitive but sparing narration by Susan Sarandon, the video provides the essential facts about life at the Louisiana Correctional Institute while letting the women tell their own stories of abuse suffered and crimes committed. The female guards are friendly and the facilities clean, but some rules seem arbitrary and wrong (a hug will land you in solitary). Khadivi offers no easy solutions: one older woman admits that only in prison did she learn the meaning of love. Also on the program: What We Leave Behind (2000, 21 min.), a sincere but undistinguished video made by women ex-convicts.

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