111: Happy Jail and Ghosts Of Attica

Sep 11, 01:00 PM
Netflix's recent documentary series, Happy Jail, looks at daily life and administration inside the Filipino detention center whose famous Dancing Inmates re-enacted the Thriller video so virally a decade or so ago. There are so many stories to choose from here, but Eve Batey and I agree that the production doesn't do well at organizing them, interrogating the issues in play, or giving us context for what we're seeing as it compares with life behind bars in the U.S.

2001's Ghosts Of Attica, recently re-issued to VOD, is much more straightforward and workmanlike -- and that's a good thing! It's no-frills, but it knows what its audience doesn't know, and brings two narratives that seem like they're competing together to indict the state, Governor Rockefeller, and the ignorance of the American populace about life inside.