In this episode of Carolyn Talks…, I speak with TIFF Senior Manager of Festival Programming, Robyn Citizen, about 40 Years A Prisoner, a film we both believe is must see viewing for everyone.
Directed by documentarian and photographer Tommy Oliver, 40 Years A Prisoner follows Mike Africa Jr.’s on his path to getting justice for his parents Mike Africa and Debbie Africa who along with seven other members of the MOVE organization, were imprisoned following raid of their commune in 1985, in which a Philadelphia police officer was killed. For over thirty years Mike Jr. collected mounds and mounds of court documents, news paper clipping and film footage of the events leading up to the fateful day, and his decades long legal battle to free them.
During our discussion Robyn and I share how the story of MOVE, the racism, discrimination and violence enacted against them is eerily similar to what has been going on with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the numerous cases of police brutality and murder of Black in America. To watch how deliberately cruel city and police officials were in their treatment of the members of MOVE was shocking, disheartening and rage inducing because it exposes how prevalent and acceptable racism has always been in America (and North America as a whole), and how the media plays a part in skewing the perception of Black people in the news.
40 Years A Prisoner debuts on HBO December 3, 2020.
Images courtesy of TIFF. For more TIFF20 festival and organization announcements visit, TIFF.net. You can follow Carolyn on Twitter and Instagram @Carriecnh 12.
Carolyn is a Freelance Film Critic, Journalist, and Podcaster – and avid live tweeter. Member of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), her published work can be found on But Why Tho, The Beat, Observer, and many other sites. As a critic, she believes her personal experiences and outlook on life, give readers and listeners a different perspective they can appreciate.