We're at BFI London Film Festival checking out the latest releases for #CinemaClub, starting with the heartbreaking drama, Clemency.
Chinonye Chukwu invites you to take an intimate look inside the prison system in her new film, Clemency. Set in the days between two back-to-back executions, the movie examines how the lives of everyone involved in a death row conviction are affected.
After a traumatic execution with a botched procedure, prison warden Bernadine Williams (portrayed by Alfre Woodard) attempts to stay strong in the lead up to the next execution for young inmate Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge), who is clinging on to one last hope of being granted clemency.
An all consuming job, set to the background noise of protesters outside, the death row warden can’t shut off, being described as an “empty shell of a wife”, as she battles with her conscience and nightmares - all while attempting to remain stoic and professional for her traumatised guards, prisoners and families of the victims.
Knowing she will be the last face they see, the executions feature graphic shots and long, torturous scenes that really capture the uncomfortable and emotional last moments of the inmates. No matter your opinions on the justice system, you’re sure to find this film heartbreaking.
Clemency will be released in UK cinemas this December but you can catch a screening during the London Film Festival this October.
(Photography by Paul Sarkis and Eric Branco)