Director: Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous
Country of Origin: USA 2017 89 mins. (15)
Winner – Grand Jury Prize – SXSW 2017
Winner – Audience Award – Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017
Released by Dogwoof
Murderers. Drug addicts. Thieves. Gang members. Armed robbers. Violent criminals…California's notorious Folsom Prison – immortalised by Johnny Cash – houses some of the toughest inmates in the US prison system. But it has also become the site of a groundbreaking experiment that offers its prisoners a sense of hope – and helps those from the outside world make sense of their lives too. This unique four-day group therapy session is charted in The Work, a remarkable film that looks in on 2 prisoners and civilians going through an intense session that is as mentally tough as Folsom is physically brutal. And as vicious and merciless as this world is, the sessions offer prisoners and those from outside the walls a chance at rehabilitation, redemption and saviour.
Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, 'The Work' follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. The Work offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanising tropesin our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.