Resin (2001)

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California's controversial "Three Strikes" law is at the heart of this angry drama, which centers on a man who becomes one of the law's undeserving victims. The law states that judges must give a mandatory 25-year-to-life sentence to anybody convicted of a third felony, two of which are violent. Resin's protagonist, Zeke (David Alvarado), finds himself facing such a sentence despite the fact that his first violent conviction was a plea-bargain for a non-violent crime, his second conviction was for self-defense, and his third for pot possession. While the film refuses to cast Zeke as a saint, it also questions whether there is any point in such a heavy sentence. Russian director Vladamir Gyorski shot Resin in accordance with the Dogme 95 manifesto, resulting in a film that feels extraordinarily realistic. It was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema.