Clemency

"State-sanctioned execution and the spiritual toll it exacts on those involved are explored in “Clemency,” which made history when Chukwu became the first black female director to win the Sundance Grand Jury Prize." - LA Times

"In this shattering second feature from writer-director Chinonye Chukwu (alaskaLand) Alfre Woodard plays Bernadine Williams, an emotionally restrained prison warden who is about to oversee her twelfth execution by lethal injection.

"The film opens with the gut-wrenching sight of state-sanctioned murder. The paramedic can’t find a vein. The condemned man suffers convulsions. Blood spurts. Even the prison staff is traumatized. So brutal is the process, which Chukwu presents in granular detail, that you might feel as if your heart has stopped, too.

"Clemency is passionately anti-capital punishment, whether the accused is innocent or not. But the film chooses to focus on those who bear witness, especially Williams. As an authority figure, she must methodically adhere to the rules. As a woman, she is hyper-alert to being judged for signs of weakness.

"Clemency follows Williams as she prepares to face the next inmate in line for execution. He is Anthony Woods (the brilliant Aldis Hodge), a convicted cop killer and an artist who favors drawing birds in flight.

"Chukwu allows cinematographer Eric Branco to aim his lens at Woodard, whose ravaged face becomes a road map to what happens when a human being tries to repress all traces of empathy." - Rolling Stone

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