A few years ago I was poking around for something to watch at a video rental store – remember those? – and I happened across The Trials of Henry Kissinger (watch here). This was my introduction to director Eugene Jarecki, a titan in the world of modern documentary filmmaking, right up there with Alex Gibney, Charles Ferguson, Errol Morris, and Steve James, who, I think, doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. His new film, a declaration of war on the war on drugs called The House I Live In, could easily change that.
The film takes a wide-ranging look at the uncontroversial fact of the nearly 40-year-old, $1 trillion war: it’s failed. As the film’s summary points out, it’s led to 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Still, drugs are cheaper and more available today than ever before. The film looks at “how political and economic corruption have fueled the war for forty years, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic, and practical failures.” Its limited theatrical release begins today.