The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016)
A commanding and nuanced portrait of the prison-industrial complex, Brett Story’s The Prison In Twelve Landscapes (2016) traces the far-reaching and unexpected impact modern carceral structures have on the land and lives of individuals in America. Part documentary, part meditative film essay, Landscapes shuns the tropes of traditional prison cinema. Story points her lens not at the familiar images of a prisoner and their cell, but rather opens it out onto a sprawling geography: a small Appalachian coal town hoping for gainful employment that accompanies the arrival of a new prison, California’s wildfires pushed back by prison labor firefighters, and a small Bronx business that negotiates the extensive and ever changing rules of penitentiary systems in order to mail prisoners care-packages from their loved ones. Here, prison is portrayed as an invasive form of territorialization that affects resources, jobs, and property, and as a force that actively seeks to invisibilize its imprisoned inhabitants and power relations.