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Penitentiary (DVD)

Catalog ID# 198648

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Penitentiary (DVD)

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Jamaa Fanaka’s raw and violent indictment of prison life is a masterpiece of Urban Cinema and was the most successful independent film of 1980. A potent combination of “blaxploitation” prison film and social commentary, PENITENTIARY busted genres and galvanised audiences from the art houses to the inner city, becoming the corner stone of urban independent film for generations to come. The film tells the story of Martel Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy in his first starring role), a hitch-hiker who gets into a fight with a pair of bikers over a prostitute. One of the bikers dies and Martel finds himself in prison with the moniker “Too Sweet” because of his love of candy bards. Soon he is a hardened but pragmatic inmate who joins the prison boxing team in an effort to secure an early parole. But standing in his path is Half Deal Johnston (Badja Djola – Mississippi Burning, The Serpent and the Rainbow), a member of the prison’s most violent gang. Half Dead’s sadistic cruelty and Too Sweet’s raw determination culminate in a brutal and shocking climax that puts all previous boxing films to shame.

Director: Jamaa Fanaka

Writer: Jamaa Fanaka

Cast: Leon Kennedy, Thomy Pollard, Donovan Womack

Year of Production 1979
DVD Release 2/01/2008
Genre Blaxploitation
Catalogue Number


Running Time 99 mins
Rating MA
Aspect Ratio 16:9 Widescreen
Special Features Trailer, Director's Audio Commentary
Subtitles None
Language English
System PAL
No. of Discs 1
DVD Region All Regions

Region Code: Region 0 PAL

Release Date: 2008-02-01

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