Tag: David Denby

The Wartorn House We Live In

By Pamela Schwartz

As part of the LASIS coverage of Fordham Law School’s Forum on Law, Culture and Society’s film forum, I had the opportunity to see filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s documentary “The House I Live In” followed by a panel with Mr. Jarecki, The New Yorker film critic David Denby, and Fordham law professor Deborah Denno. Moderator Thane Rosenbaum noted that this was the first time the film festival was showing a work that had a concurrent commercial release in its seven-year history, which speaks to the growing success of the annual program.

The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and counts Brad Pitt, John Legend, Russell Simmons, and Danny Glover among its executive producers, deals with the effects of our country’s 40-plus years of the War on Drugs. This take-no- prisoners movement, that makes prisoners of far too many, relies on law enforcement and mandatory minimum sentencing provisions to punish people caught with, or selling, drugs.

The documentary is told through the viewpoint of prison guards, prisoners, judges, law professors, various experts, and even Mr. Jarecki’s childhood caretaker, Nannie Jetter, whose son James grew up with Mr. Jarecki. James died of complications from HIV, which contracted through intravenous heroin use.

The conclusion these perspectives collectively lead to is that far-reaching government corruption, and deep-seeded classism, and xenophobia have fueled this “War” on drugs, which, as the film frames it, amounts to a failure with a trillion dollar price tag.



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