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9th DMZ Docs(2017)

I AM DOCU



Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Steve James

  • USA
  • 2016
  • 90min
  • DCP
  • color

Korean Premiere

Synopsis

This film tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the family to defend themselves—and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community—over the course of a five-year legal battle.

Review

As a country with the lowest population density in the world and the lowest crime rate, this pastoral country Iceland rarely finds a murder case. , however, shows a story of the most notorious murder case in the history of Iceland. As two unrelated men were missing in 1974, the case started and seemed to end as six young people were arrested under the charge of murders. But this case has much more complicated truth behind it.

After 40 years later, this case became a subject for retrial. How come they were sentenced for murder with no material evidence or corpses. This case began with confession, and only that confession led to the verdict. The fear created by oppressive atmosphere during interrogation, in solitary confinement for a long time, manipulated memories and facts. This case became a symbol that public madness, media and power transformed young people into devil incarnates and monsters. It is also a reason that the current law protects the Corroboration of the Confession Rule(when the confession is the only evidence, it can’t be declared guilty).

The film starts as if mystery genre. Landscape in night, showing closed-up body parts, startled eyes and two young women going into the prison and so on. Represented images begin to connect like fragmented puzzle pieces and the voice of a narrator reflecting the case starts the story. The film adopts various documentary techniques such as professional interviews, images recorded in the past, representation of the case and the narrative depending on subjective memories in current viewpoint. [Lim Sea-eun]

Director

  • Steve James

    Life Itself (2014)Head Games (2012)The Interrupters (2011)No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (2010)At The Death House Door (2008)​ 

Credit

  • ProducerMark Mitten, Julie Goldman
  • Cinematography Tom Bergman
  • Editor John Farbrother, David E. Simpson
  • Music Joshua Abrams

Contribution & World Sale

Contribution & World Sale  Cinetic Media

Phone  1 212 204 7979

E-Mail  shane@cineticmedia.com​