by Chad Campbell, senior producer
Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki gave us a fascinating interview about America’s “War on Drugs” - and his documentary on the subject is even more brilliant and powerful. It’s called The House I Live In and it opens in limited release in New York City this weekend. Over the past 40 years, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars and arrested more than 45 million people on drug charges. Despite that, drugs today are purer, cheaper and easier to obtain and use. Jarecki talks with dealers on the street, those going through trials, inmates, with a federal judge about mandatory minimum sentences and three strikes laws, narcotics police officers, a prison guard and many others to give a full picture of our criminal justice system. In building the case, his star witness is David Simon, who Jarecki calls a “national treasure.” Before creating the hit cable TV shows The Wire and Treme, Simon was a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun so he is intimately familiar with the drug war and how it affects everyone involved. I mixed in so many clips from the movie during our discussion but I also had to leave out so much - I feel like we barely scratched the surface. When you have the chance, please see this film for yourself. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Until then, here is the trailer.
In 2005, Jarecki made a film about the dangers of the military-industrial complex called Why We Fight. Like his new movie, that one also won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. He gave us a great interview back then too. Later, he wrote a book called The American Way of War. Click here to read our blog entry from Jarecki’s previous appearance.