Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

MADE IN THE USA

 

Year: 2001
Country: France
Run Time: 105 minutes

Here it's so commonplace that a popular record label dubs itself Death Row. But overseas, capital punishment is viewed by most Europeans with horror and disbelief. From "A Short Film about Killing" (14th CIFF, 1990) to "Throne of Death" (24th CIFF, 2000) to "The Widow of St. Pierre" (25th CIFF, 2001), international filmmakers have addressed the ironies of state-sanctioned murder on the pretext of punishing murder. Now comes MADE IN THE USA, actually a French-made documentary about a deadly American tradition. MADE IN THE USA examines the morality of the death penalty through the grim prism of a specimen case. You already know the ending; Odell Barnes was born in Wichita Falls, executed via lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas on March 1, 2000, one of the lopsided numbers of black and Latino males to sit in prison and ultimately pay for a conviction with their lives. He was 31, and had for nine years fought for the reopening of the homicide charge that doomed him. Barnes was accused of the 1989 slaying of a nurse, Helen Bass, but the filmmakers unearth testimony and forensic evidence that would seem to cast "reasonable doubt" on whether Barnes deserved the fate the state of Texas (and then-governor George W. Bush) meted out to him. This is the story of Odell Barnes, and it's not the only one.

Directors
Solveig Anspach, Cindy Babski

Producer
Luc Martin-Gousset, Emmanuelle Fage

Cinematography
Laurent Machuel

Editing
Anne Riegel

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