Time, an Amazon Prime documentary premiered on 23rd October 2020. Directed by Garrett Bradley, the documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020, where it won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award. The documentary frequently travels between the present and past and features home video footage Sibil recorded back in those days.
Desperate Times and Unfair Punishments
“At the beginning of every year, every New Year’s Eve for the past 20 years, we have always started the new year knowing that this was gonna be the year that my husband was coming home.” – Sibil Fox Richardson
Time revolves around the struggle of Sibil Fox Richardson aka Fox Rich – an entrepreneur, author, mother, and wife to Rob Richardson who was sentenced to 60 years of prison without probation, parole, or suspension of sentence in Louisiana State Penitentiary for armed bank robbery. Various documentaries around systemic discrimination are streamed every year which usually puts more focus on the history and statistics but Time brings inter-personal accounts of the survivor who suffered at the hands of bigots. 60 years of human life is not a matter of joke and the Richardson family was subjected to extreme trauma and pain due to racial differences. It is not just unethical but appalling too!
History has seen various whites and privileged folks burning holes in the government’s pocket by scams and officialized theft but more often than not, they are not caught or punished. They spend their lives as open criminals who are just on the brighter and imperialist side of the story. Though in no possible way is the bank robbery justified, when necessitous people attempt to steal just because they are in despair and literally running out of basic amenities that are caused by the incompetent and supremacist government depriving them of basic human needs, you can somewhat relate to their perils.
“I had to make sure I could keep our children fed and housed. I had to make sure that I could finance the fight – that I could provide for the family, take care of the children, and generate the money that we would need to sustain us. [Rob’s] portion of the work was to figure out the law. I didn’t have time to study the law. I couldn’t interpret what I was reading, despite my Master’s degree. It was a whole different language.” – Sibil Fox Richardson
Through this documentary, the makers put a light on the adversity, pain, and injustice faced but Fox. She makes numerous attempts to get information about her husband from the court, only to hear again and again that there’s no news or updates and to call another day. The system just doesn’t seem to care about the misery of the family after being prejudiced towards them. But you don’t see her losing her calm or strength all this while. She is polite to the people who treated her family discriminatorily. Her pain and trouble are real and relevant.
Time gives you imagery of how living in America is like if you don’t belong to the same supremacist, bigoted race. How the providers and judiciaries are biased and how rules are different for people belonging to different ethnicity. Revisiting, the documentary left me with a question – What if Fox would have stayed quiet? Rob would have suffered, maybe he would have died in there too and the judiciary still wouldn’t have cared. According to reports, the couple was labelled “the Black Bonnie and Clyde”; the emphasis and addition of the word ‘Black’ in itself speak volumes.
“I was sentenced to 60 years for a crime that no one received medical treatment for. That is not to downplay my actions in any way. But for stealing five thousand dollars…and never have a criminal record prior to. For the courts to set aside all of those mitigating factors and essentially render a life sentence was so disproportionate to [what] I think should have been rendered.” – Rob Richardson
Stream It or Skip It
“One of the biggest misconceptions about our whole fight is that people have this thwarted interpretation that I was fighting for my husband. That is an oversimplification of what I was fighting for. What I was fighting for was our family. No one member is more important than the entire institution. You have one of my members unjustly held in captivity. Who am I as a human being to allow you to hold my loved one unjustly?” – Sibil Fox Richardson
STREAM IT! It’s the year 2020 and many folks like the Richardsons are suffering out there and some without voices to advocate injustice against them. It is a shame that, time and again, society fails to bring peace, justice, respect, and equality to a particular race or kind just because they consider them “inferior”, all the while stealing their resources as imperialists and conquerors, turning them into slaves, and then calling them out for being one. Hypocrisy – well, yes.
Time is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Read our other reviews here.