Of the movies I’ve seen lately, few are as gripping as The Central Park Five, Ken Burns’ documentary about the incarceration of five innocent teenagers wrongfully convicted of the rape in the late 80s. The film’s Brooklyn premiere is this Sunday at BAM, part of the third annual New Voices in Black Cinema Festival, and three of the unjustly accused victims, now free, will be in attendance for a Q&A. Burns skillfully recreates the city’s fascination with the crime and the trial at the time, which I remember well from my tween years, and the zeal for “justice” that obscured reason and decency and eventually led to the senseless destruction of five young lives. The portrayal of the city itself–so hardened and beleaguered by crime, violence, and economic woes that you won’t believe it was only twenty-odd years ago–is eye-opening for both newcomers and those who lived through the Dinkins era alike. The festival also highlights 15 other films, including Four, starring Wendell Holmes, who will always be Bunk from The Wire to me, Big Words, a hit from Sundance, and Tey (Aujourd’hui), set in Senegal. Many of the screenings are New York premieres and will include audience Q&As with directors and cast members. A full schedule and tickets for all screenings can be found here. –K.H.
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