TIFF 23′: Sing Sing

A cleanly presented film, whose story will likely stir up both empathetic and artistic energies, Sing Sing sees the power of theatre come to life in what many consider the darkest havens of America. Sing Sing Correctional Facility boasts an arts rehabilitation program that sees incarcerated men and women turn to acting as they form a troupe that puts on a bi-yearly play as part of their theatre workshop at the maximum security prison. 

The film stars a staggering ensemble case featuring many formerly incarcerated actors playing themselves. Sing Sing is led by Colman Domingo as Divine G, a founding member of the group, who carries great influence in deciding their next play following their performance of Shakespeares’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As the men start to discuss what their next play might be, they recruit a new member called Divine Eye, who starts to shift the group towards a more playful and diverse comedy to bring some laughter to the big house. As they prepare, Divine G uses his bond with the men to spurn Divine Eye on and pushes him to bring out his inner artist. As the men are allowed to let loose, dance, and embrace their shared human experience, they bring a light to each other’s lives that leads them to share valuable lessons about life which informs their art and, in turn, their art informs their lives.

The film’s less driven story allows these people to expand on their identity. We see who they are and their natural performances seem to give us a real look at what this program looks like, connecting us to the people whose struggles outside of it are very real. An inspiring triumph for the inner artist in all of us and a testament to the hope that art brings, even during the darkest of times.

Sing Sing is now playing at TIFF ’23. For more information, click here.

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