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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Politics > Prison > Racism > Terrorism > The Angola 3: Black Panthers & The Last Slave Plantation (PM Press/MVD DVD)

The Angola 3: Black Panthers & The Last Slave Plantation (PM Press/MVD DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Main Program: C+



The story of The Black Panthers is one of distortion and is still not over, as it turns out.  As this posts, the story of Herman Wallace, Robert Wilson King (now released) and Albert Woodfox continues with two of The Angola 3 still in prison.  This new political film (half documentary/half propaganda) The Angola 3: Black Panthers & The Last Slave Plantation is narrated by no less than Mumia Abu-Jamal (a death row inmate dubbed a political prisoner for killing a police officer, though supporters agree) telling the story of the last remaining achievements of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program.


With interviews of friends and survivors of the original events, mixed with fine stock footage and documents you are likely not going to see anywhere else, the tale unwinds of how the FBI could have cared less about the Panthers rights because they saw them as a huge threat.  It can be argued that the agency broke in Gestapo-style (as has been suggested) to kill some of the leadership at Panther HQ.  We learn that murder is also the reason two of the three remain in prison, charged with killing a guard.


Missing from the program are the more violent leanings of the organization and despite the nice, favorable interviews with women here, the sexist, misogynist charter that helped bring the Panthers down outside of the FBI.  What the program also fails to note is that The Panther Party started to support Maoist ideas and Communism combined with violent threats, which is pretty much the point of no return where the U.S. Government and other sin power (including some of the African American middle-to-upper class) had had enough.


So the program is at least as much propaganda as anything, which means I could only take so much of it as fact and write it up as shaky when it comes to any kind of truth.  Now you can see for yourself.


The 1.33 X 1 image is choppy with low-quality analog NTSC video and shaky transfers of the vintage footage, but that is often the quality of these left-wing productions.  Abu-Jamal narration is as clear as can be expected as the PCM 16/48 2.0 sound is barely stereo itself from the interviews of those not currently in prison.  The extras include a long trailer and Music Video in case we missed something.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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