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Courtroom 3H

View on the Pragda STREAM site

Raw and powerful, Courtroom 3H marks a confident documentary debut from director Antonio Méndez Esparza (Here and There). Shot in a single courtroom over the course of a month, the film takes viewers inside Florida’s Tallahassee Unified Family Court, which specializes in judicial cases involving minors. Cases of abuse, abandonment, and negligence are presided over with the express objective, under the law, to reunite families as quickly and safely as possible.

Filtered through courtroom professionalism and presented with an observational distance, a sequence of staggeringly emotional hearings and trials hints at the complexities of these family stories, calling into question a justice system with the power to decide who is suitable to be a parent and who is not, but that is incapable of addressing underlying societal structures and often multi-generational pain.

Shining a needed light on the economic disparities underlying so much of what occurs in the US justice system, Courtroom 3H offers another profoundly sensitive portrait of family at the mercy of the system.

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