Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Edward James Olmos was directing American Me, a movie about gang violence in his real-life old neighborhood in east Los Angeles, and he also produced and narrated this documentary. In order to produce either movie on location, complex negotiations with the many rival gang factions were required. Here, residents and gang members of all kinds are interviewed about their lives, their plans, the future they see for themselves and their relatives, etc. None of those interviewed pulls any punches. Similarly complex negotiations enabled the documentarians to interview gang members serving time in Folsom Prison. The cumulative effect of these images and interviews may be more powerful than Olmos' feature movie, or even the classic cautionary documentary about juvenile crime, Scared Straight.