February 20, 2020

This event occurred as part of the 19/20 Hop Film season. This is an archived view.

Alfre Woodard delivers a powerhouse performance as a conflicted death row warden in Chinonye Chukwu's Sundance award-winning psychological drama.


Presiding over a maximum-security prison, warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) is eerily good at what she does. She takes pride in carrying out her job with cool, impersonal efficiency despite the strain that overseeing death row inmates' final moments puts on her marriage and her psyche. But Bernadine becomes fixated on the impending execution of Anthony (Aldis Hodge), whose seemingly wrongful conviction has become a cause célèbre for anti-death penalty activists and whose impassioned lawyer (Richard Schiff) continues to appeal to Bernadine's sense of conscience. 
Chinonye Chukwu's impeccably crafted second feature took home top honors at Sundance and is sure to bring further awards attention for Woodard, whose precise, subtly devastating performance cements her place as one of the finest actors working today. Anchored by her powerful turn, Clemency offers an acutely drawn portrait of a woman whose moral crisis echoes larger questions about America's policies on execution and the effects of capital punishment on all those involved. D: Chinonye Chukwu, US, 2019,

Programmed in conjunction with the mixed-media theater piece The Just and the Blind (Jan 16).

“At a time when movies can be reverse engineered to generate awards season buzz, Clemency provides a welcome alternative: a mature, star-driven vehicle elevated by a brilliant performance that deserves all the awards it can get.”


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