In her 4-part mini-series When They See Us, director Ava DuVernay details the arrest, trial, incarceration and post-prison release of five young teenagers who were framed by the prosecutor and police, and the heart-wrenching impact of this scandalous injustice on their lives and their families’ lives.
The compelling humanity of DuVernay’s five intimate stories is masterfully enhanced by cinematographer Bradford Young, ASC, who creates complex imagery with portrait lenses up close in a visual world of selective focus, suffused colors, flares and distorted bokehs.
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When They See Us is a companion piece to Ava DuVernay’s masterpiece documentary The 13th. Together the two movies create a devastating indictment of the American Criminal In-Justice System, and the mass incarceration of African-Americans. While The 13th frames the historical, legal and moral problem, When They See Us shows the human reality of police procedures, the trial process, prison and the handicapped life offered after release from prison.