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Circle Up cover image

Circle Up 2017

Highly Recommended

Distributed by New Day Films, 350 North Water Street Unit 1-12, Newburgh, NY 12550; 888-367-9154
Produced by Julie Mallozzi
Directed by Julie Mallozzi
DVD, color, 69 min., with a 12 min. short

Middle School - General Adult
Crime, Criminal Justice, Conflict Resolution

Date Entered: 11/05/2018

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

This past June 2018, many New Yorkers and people from around the country, mourned the loss of 15 year old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, brutally stabbed to death by six to eight gang members who mistook him for someone else. Circle Up takes the viewer to contemporary Boston, Massachusetts where a Dorchester mother, named Janet Conner and her family try to deal with the loss of her son, Joel, killed in a brutal attack. This is a gut-wrenching documentary on the tragic aftermath of what families deal with after losing a sibling through violent crimes. The people like Janet Conner, Mary Leon, Clarissa Hodges are real; their anguish, anger, feelings of revenge, hopelessness and finally for some, redemption, is real and raw.

“If you hold them in their humanity, you will then be able to hold them accountable for their crimes. Monsters do what monsters do; they kill.” –Janet Conner, Dialogue session with grieving mothers.

Ms. Conner becomes part of a Victim-Offender Dialogue, the first ever group of this type in Boston, Massachusetts focusing on the communication between victims and their offenders. She meets her son’s killer for the first time. There is anxiety, anger and ultimately forgiveness. A must see documentary on the power of the human spirit in times of strife and pain.