Death Row


Most people do not know when and how they will die. Death row inmates do. They are told the exact day, hour and minute of their death, including all the precise details, procedures and rituals of their execution.

Death Row is a brand new documentary series written and directed by Werner Herzog, the legendary feature filmmaker. Behind critically-acclaimed documentaries such as ‘Grizzly Man' and ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams,' Herzog's latest films tell the fascinating and controversial story of crime and the death penalty.

Over the period of a year, Herzog has interviewed inmates in America as they await their death - one has now already been executed - and uncovers brutal stories of rape and murder. In the opening scene, he makes it clear that he believes no human being should be executed. Through Herzog's unique storytelling interview style, he states his aim is to understand what it is like to face the death penalty, not excuse them for their crimes. He looks into the backgrounds and circumstances of the inmates' crimes to find out their motivations, attitudes and sentiments at a time when they know their lives are ending.

The first portrait is of Hank Skinner who was sentenced to death 18 years ago for the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend and her two mentally impaired sons; he has had his execution scheduled three times. On one occasion, Skinner was only twenty minutes away from his death having been read his ‘last rites' and eaten his final meal (consisting of fried chicken, boiled eggs, bacon cheeseburger, large fries and a big pitcher of chocolate milkshake).

The second portrait is of James Barnes who was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife and has hinted about two more possible murders. The third and final portraits are of Joseph Garcia and George Rivas who belong to the famous prison break of the Texas Seven masterminded by Rivas and in which Garcia was a participant. Rivas was finally executed last month; yet Garcia has no illusions about any chance for clemency, and also sees his execution as inevitable and irreversible.

Death row is not so much about capital punishment but a deep and intriguing insight into the limits of human experience to discover what it feels like to know how you will die and when.

Past TX Information

10 Apr 2012, 01:10
  • R
  • S
  • HD


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