There is a scene in the first 20 minutes of Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous’s observational documentary The Work where a grown man cries. It’s no ordinary cry; this is a full-body sob; a keening wail bottled up for literally years; the desperate, feral cry of someone in unimaginable pain. He wants to feel what it’s like to mourn for his sister. “Take me with you,” says one of the man’s colleagues when he bites his lip, trying not to surrender to the tears. “I’m not going anywhere.” And so they come, in floods. Watching this scene is a visceral experience. Some moments are unbearable to watch; others are utter catharsis.
At Folsom state prison, a maximum security jail in California, inmates and members of the public come together twice a year for an intensive four-day group therapy session. Bartenders, museum associates and teaching assistants...
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