Land of the Free
In South Central, Los Angeles, we follow Brian, a former LA gang member of “the Crips”, who has just been released after having spent his whole adult life in prison and is now in his forties.
Brian is desperate to fit into society, but left to himself, he has to adapt to a world that looks very different from 24 years ago. He tries to tackle the internet, get a driver’s license and find his first love.
Brian’s story is interwoven with Juan and Gianni’s. Juan is a teenager on parole, and we are placed inside his claustrophobic life, allowing us to understand his decision to abandon his baby girl for a gang lifestyle, and his eventual regret when he is incarcerated. 7-year-old Gianni lives in a crowded home, to which he is confined. He can’t play outside where the gangs are luring at the front door, hungry for new recruits.
Filmmaker, Camilla Magid has followed their lives for two years, and the film very precisely shows the psychological impact of a prison system, which focuses on punishment rather than prevention and rehabilitation. The three characters merge into one story in this intimate portrait of the people, who live in a society where help is scarce, and you have to rely on your own resources.