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Stanley Nelson’s Attica Devastates and Shakes to the Core 50 Years Later

“Dog Day Afternoon,”  based upon a real-life story in the early seventies where the Chase Manhattan Bank in Flatbush was held siege by a gay bank robber determined to steal enough money for his male lover to undergo a sex change operation. I remember vividly the scene where Sonny (Al Pacino) leads a crowd outside the bank yelling out “Attica, Attica” in protest of law enforcement. During that same summer  of 1971, tensions between inmates and guards at the Attica Correctional Facility came to a head as now legendary institution became the stage for one of the largest prison riots in American history.

Directed and written by legendary documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. Attica devastates and shakes its audience to its core with original interviews from former inmates, family members of the hostages, and those who witnessed the rebellion firsthand.  Attica brings us back to a moment in time that continues to resonate by capturing the people, politics, emotions and tragedy serving as a wake-up call for prison reform and a reminder of the responsibilities of justice.

Just as with  “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” Nelson illustrates those seeking justice can sometimes be their own worst enemies making their downfall as complicated as it is tragic.

Still images coming from the evidence presented over the years as part of lawsuits addressing the September 13, 1971, atrocities committed by law enforcement, are disturbing, yet leaving viewers equally angry.

As a member of the media, it’s equally disturbing how many reporters encouraged the false narrative claiming inmates had killed hostages themselves. Although that claim was later proven false, the damage had been done and many among the public at that time continue to believe those preposterous claims even today.

If cameras had not come in and not reported what happened, we wouldn’t be sitting here 50 years later talking and debating this event.  There would probably no record of the government having killed 39 of its own citizens and we definitely wouldn’t have this doc without that footage.

Now, an Oscar nominated documentary and streaming on Showtime , this is by far Stanley Nelson’s best documentary to date proving that old Lois McMaster Bujold quote, “The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them” to be right on time.

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic-Expert, I am an member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association, African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY, RogerEbert.com, Maltin on Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, NPR, Good Day LA, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand and Cherry Picks. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Mondays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

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