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500 Ratings


Directed by Ava DuVernay
United States, 2016


An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

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13th Directed by Ava DuVernay

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

2017 | Nominee: Best Documentary Feature

Independent Spirit Awards

2017 | Nominee: Best Documentary

Village Voice Film Poll

2016 | Nominee: Best Documentary

The 13th, which I will admit to watching on Netflix after LFF, is brilliant for what it sheds light upon, while its rigour and aesthetics fall flat. DuVernay doesn’t have to do much to prove her point: America is racist and slavery still exists. It would take great ignorance to be surprised by this, but, if contemporary politics in the US and UK are anything to go by, the film’s thesis is likely to be met with surprise.
December 14, 2016
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When Quentin Tarantino said, without having seen it, that DuVernay’s Selma was more like a TV movie that would have been made in the 1970s than an actual work of cinema, he could not have predicted how DuVernay would turn the opportunity to make a movie for Netflix into an act of defiance.
December 12, 2016
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The harrowing footage of violence that’s been inflicted upon black bodies in this country is viscerally sickening, while a number of frank admissions from politicians—Newt Gingrich and John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s key advisors, among them—will make your blood run cold. This should be required viewing for all Americans, but particularly those so willfully blind as to claim that racism isn’t a problem in this country.
October 28, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • chanandre's rating of the film 13th

    [Netflix] After the genocide of the Native-Americans and centuries of slavery another racist, bigoted, xenophobic genocide (this time a social genocide that creates a rift within an ethnic group). It is the programs, the ghettos, the kill first regret it later policy the Nazi used to wreck the Jewish community. A disgrace. I am ashamed and grossed out.

  • Ally the Manic Listmaker's rating of the film 13th

    Sheds light on a very important topic. Highly recommended and available on Netflix. Should be an Oscar contender.

  • Rafael Zen's rating of the film 13th

    It's so demanding it's beyond ratings or stars. This is political cinema with great editing skills, it keeps pushing focus further, expanding its own universe. The police treatment issue gets revisited and rethought after this one - more people should be seeing this and I'm glad Netflix is spreading these stories. Go global, wake several.

  • EdieEmm's rating of the film 13th

    Extraordinarily relevant, and perfectly timed. Not because the info, or its importance, is new... It's so not new. But because the info - which even just a few years ago was relegated to the domain of "radicals" - is ready for mainstreaming. Making it (as they say in the film) a prime target for bandaiding & appropriating. And making this sort of structural perspective more necessary than ever. Strong doc; well made.

  • msmichel's rating of the film 13th

    Ava Duvernay's study of America's prison system and its roots in the 13th amendment which created the policy needed to continue forced work and later forced incarceration is a thoughtful and powerful documentary well deserving of its accolades. The notion that full freedom has ever been granted is ludicrous when one simply studies the statistics and the politics which change the wording with the same end result.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film 13th

    A bit diffuse, but only because it's constructed with the breathless urgency the topic deserves. In an era when so many polemical docs (even ones I agree with) have a dollop of bullshit, Ava DuVernay's advocacy is lucid and dodges picking Dems or Repubs. It may not break much new ground, but it gathers info for a valuable primer on how BLM didn't come from nowhere. Which too many Americans still don't realize.

  • smndvdcl's rating of the film 13th

    Best documentary of 2016. A compelling treatise of endemic racial profiling in the US: the world's most overcrowded prison system. From the manipulation of the 13th Amendment in order to continue to subjugate the African-American population more than a century after the slave trade, to the methods of Nixon and Reagan to find indirect ways to prejudice US racial minorities; a powerful, profound must see for all.

  • Steve Pulaski's rating of the film 13th

    Nothing you probably haven't been told before in your past U.S. history and civics courses, but a distilled look at such - especially in an immensely investing, cleanly narrated way - doesn't hurt at all. Directress Ava DuVernay presents us with a plethora of information as to how and why blacks have been ostracized in American culture, and while she doesn't offer a solution, she is sure not to encourage complacency.

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