Undoing Time: Cinema and Histories of Incarceration

September 8–November 16, 2022

Including historical and contemporary documentaries, essay films, and works of fiction, this series reflects on the inherent racism and inhumanity of the prison industrial complex while celebrating courageous voices and acts of resistance from inside and outside of prison walls.

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  • The Infiltrators

  • Time

  • The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

  • Time Has No Sympathy

  • Rhymes for Young Ghouls

  • Upcoming
  • Past
  • Past

Past Films

  • The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

    • Wednesday, November 16 7 PM
    Brett Story
    United States, 2016

    Story shows how the extractive carceral system reaches far beyond prison walls to affect the lives and livelihoods of disadvantaged Americans. Sidestepping drama and polemics, the documentary is nonetheless a damning collection of evidence for abolition.

    Introduced by Althea Wasow

  • Time

    • Saturday, November 12 7 PM
    Garrett Bradley
    United States, 2020

    Combining documentary and home movie footage, Bradley tells an epic story of extraordinary faith and unyielding persistence, following Sibil Fox Richardson’s decades-long quest to free her husband, Rob, from an unreasonably long prison sentence.

    Introduced by Leila Weefur

  • Willie

    • Sunday, November 6 7 PM
    Danny Lyon
    United States, 1985

    Combining footage and images of the exuberant child Willie Jarmillo once was with the prematurely aged man he has become, Lyon reveals the vulnerable, generous person within the tough exterior of a lost soul in this poignant record of the destructive effects of prison on one young man.

  • The Infiltrators

    • Thursday, November 3 7 PM
    Cristina Ibarra, Alex Rivera
    United States, 2019

    This experimental hybrid of documentary and reenactment details the audacious effort by members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance to free other undocumented immigrants from inside a Florida detention center.

    Introduced by Andrés Cediel

  • Rhymes for Young Ghouls

    • Sunday, October 30 7 PM
    Jeff Barnaby
    Canada, 2014

    Set on the Red Crow Mi’kmaq reservation in 1976, Rhymes for Young Ghouls plays with genre to address the damage wrought by Canada’s residential schools on generations of First Nations people. The film “makes this part of our collective history accessible in a way that no Royal Commission or official report can hope to match” (Chelsea Vowel, CBC).

    Introduced by Hertha D. Sweet Wong

  • Time Has No Sympathy

    • Sunday, October 23 4:30 PM
    Kristine Samuelson
    United States, 1974

    BAMPFA Collection

    Filmed at San Francisco County Jail, Time Has No Sympathy reveals the specific challenges of incarcerated women, the grinding repetition of prison life, and the need to organize to resist their unjust and inhumane treatment. With Christine Choy and Cynthia Maurizio’s Inside Women Inside and Janis Cole’s Shaggie: Letters from Prison.

    Kristine Samuelson in Person

  • Bush Mama

    • Saturday, October 1 7 PM
    Haile Gerima
    United States, 1975

    Dorothy, the title character, is raising a daughter in Watts while her husband is in prison. Her political awareness develops as she navigates the cacophony and turmoil of the neighborhood and stays connected with him via correspondence.

    Introduced by Ryanaustin Dennis

  • Attica

    • Friday, September 23 7 PM
    Cinda Firestone
    United States, 1974

    BAMPFA Student Committee Pick

    An essential counterpoint to the official and mass media accounts of the Attica prison uprising and subsequent massacre. “Few social documentaries hit their mark with more harrowing and urgent impact. No matter how you feel about prison reform Attica makes indifference impossible” (Stanley Eichelbaum, San Francisco Examiner). With Christine Choy and Susan Robeson’s Teach Our Children.

    Introduced by Michael Mark Cohen

  • Staggerlee . . . A Conversation with Black Panther Bobby Seale

    • Saturday, September 10 7 PM
    Francisco Newman, Allen Willis
    United States, 1970

    An illuminating interview with Black Panther Bobby Seale while he was incarcerated in San Francisco County Jail. With an excerpt from Queen Mother Moore Speech at Greenhaven Prison.

    Introduced by Shani Shay

  • Rabbit in the Moon

    • Thursday, September 8 7 PM
    Emiko Omori
    United States, 1999

    Emiko Omori’s poetic documentary tells the story of Japanese incarceration in the United States, bringing to light the courageous acts of protest and rebellion that have been too often overlooked. Beautifully rendered, Rabbit in the Moon bravely lifts the gag that once muted a culture’s voice of anger. With Chris Kennedy’s lay claim to an island, which revisits the 1969 takeover of Alcatraz Island by the American Indian movement. 

    Emiko Omori and Chizuko Omori in Person