Electrifying Documentary About Deploying Men’s Work Healing in a…

by akoloy

Not Rated | | Documentary | 8 September 2017 (UK)

Of all of the movie critics on Rotten Tomatoes writing concerning the documentary “The Work,” I’m the one one who has truly carried out the kind of work (and facilitated the work) on show on this riveting documentary about man-healing, set in a most safety jail. And carried out it alongside three of the particular facilitators within the movie.

Does that matter? Not actually. But I’ve learn the opposite critiques, and no person actually is aware of what they’re speaking about, or seeing. They couldn’t probably—not in the event that they’re calling the work, “group therapy,” which is as true as it’s meaningless; it belittles; it doesn’t start to convey the scope of any such therapeutic work. And additionally not in the event that they’re referring to “cons” with shock that these jail inmates are actual, legitimate human beings, able to deep change.

Epoch Times Photo
Free males head into Folsom Prison to affix forces with convicts to alter their lives and achieve initiation into the mature masculine. (SXSW Film Festival)

Now, I haven’t facilitated males’s work within the powder keg setting of a most safety jail because it’s demonstrated right here, however I’m right here to let you know: Every males’s weekend that’s taken place, weekly, across the globe because the early Nineteen Eighties is a powder keg of, if not equal, then equally harmful explosive potential.

Emotionally illiterate males all over the place, fatherless males all over the place, uninitiated males, mission-less males, and all combos and permutations of these poisonous substances are simply inherently harmful.

And on the flipside—all these elements likewise render males ineffectual, drifting, nugatory wretches. Modern society has lengthy since misplaced its connection to, and understanding of—the sacred, mature-masculine.

Speaking of harmful males, I personally heard an active-duty U.S. Navy SEAL say of the work: “This work is as tightly organized, challenging, and rewarding as any SEAL-training evolution I ever participated in. I’m a SEAL; I can swim 60 feet down in the pitch-black ocean with great white sharks. Doesn’t faze me. But this men’s warrior weekend? This scared the [expletive omitted] out of me.” It’s not known as “New Warrior” for nothing.

I’ve witnessed an Air Force spec-ops fight controller exorcising demons he carried from having ordered bomb strikes that worn out villages. I’ve seen the work of knowledgeable boxer who killed a person within the ring. Men’s work is devastatingly highly effective wherever it takes place.

But to publicly current, lastly, “The Work,” concerning the therapeutic work that occurs on males’s weekends, there actually isn’t any higher stage than legendary lockdown, Folsom State Prison. Johnny Cash put the darkness of Folsom in our nationwide consciousness in 1955, and the documentary “The Work” is right here over 60 years later to announce, from Folsom, the unbelievable mild, warmth, and energy of Men’s Work to the world.

A Little Background

Back within the early Nineteen Eighties, three males—an ex-Marine, a psychologist, and a trainer—obtained collectively and determined to deal with males’s points within the wake of ’60s and ’70s rising feminism.

How had been males speculated to be, throughout these complicated instances, the place, as Chinese medication describes it—the cosmic Yin is in ascension, and Yang in decline? Role-reversals had been occurring, it was all very complicated for males. And ladies.

Then the poet Robert Bly wrote the definitive males’s work bible, “Iron John,” and these three males—Rich Tosi, Bill Kauth, and Ron Hering—came up with the Wildman Weekend.

It instantly obtained ridiculed; the press had a subject day with it, I imply, what’s that? Men operating round within the woods, howling on the moon, bare? Smearing mud on themselves, banging on drums, coping with mommy and daddy points and crying? Looks like a bunch of white males making an attempt to be Indians. And so on.

The test-runs of the Wildman Weekends have lengthy since advanced into the formidable, tip of the mytho-poetic males’s motion spear—the nonprofit Mankind Project’s “New Warrior Training Adventure.” These occasions passed off each weekend, all throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Germany, previous to COVID. But new, upcoming weekends are being prepped as we communicate.

You might have observed that the idea of the warrior has grow to be very fashionable within the final couple of many years. The overwhelming use of the phrase “warrior” in in the present day’s tradition arrived through the mytho-poetic males’s motion. At least 100,000 males worldwide have carried out their weekends.

But as a result of that is work unique to the wants of males, it was, up till the making of “The Work,” not for public consumption; to not be evenly blathered about—it was a mistake to let predatory journalists on the early weekends.

Losing the component of shock drains a lot of the facility out of the weekend. There wanted to be a time of circling the wagons; for males to understand and do not forget that down by way of the ages, solely males can train different males (and boys) how you can be males. If you don’t have the requisite plumbing, you’re under no circumstances, form, or kind, certified do that job. So has it ever been in tribal life, so shall it ever be, to ensure that wholesome males (and by extension wholesome communities) to thrive.

Men’s Work in Prison

That mentioned, the work offered in “The Work” is being made public on the request of the jail inmates concerned. When the jail warden at Folsom was proven the movie, his jaw hit the bottom. He instantly laid out the pink carpet for additional males’s work.

Why? He’d taken an enormous gamble. He’d allowed the unprecedented, extraordinarily harmful state of affairs to happen: a pack of convicted killers from completely different deadly gangs; Crips, Bloods, Skins (Native-American), White supremacists, Latin Kings, Mexican cartel-affiliated gangs, and so forth, to be collectively in a single room—unsupervised. No guards. And allowed them to take part in processes the place the quantity of their inherently explosive emotional states could be turned as much as 11.

And there are explosions. Man-oh-man. It’s an precise adrenaline excessive. As Rick, a white-supremacist shot-caller (gang chief) and former outlaw-biker in “The Work” says, “I had a ’43 Shovelhead (Harley-Davidson). I’d take her up to 147 mph, till she started shaking. I lived for experiences on the edge. I don’t get to have those experiences in prison. But these men’s circles carry that same energy.”

prison inmate in "The Work"
Rick, white-supremacist gang chief and former biker, in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

These males’s circles additionally carry the facility to comprise the inevitable explosions and exorcisms like a human bomb containment chamber. Let the therapeutic start.

Alright Already! What Goes On in There?

Tough guys. To quote legendary fullback Jim Brown, “The first thing you find out when you get to the NFL is that tough guys come in all sizes. What the little guys lack in size and power, they more than make up for in accuracy and meanness.”

“The Work’s” digital camera pans over a scary jail line-up; level-four convicts with wall-to-wall tats and bandanas. Seriously unhealthy dudes, swole from back-to-back life-sentences value of pumping iron. Bonafide thug-life. Up shut and private.

gathering of prison inmates in "The Work"
Chris, third in from proper, a daily man surrounded by Folsom jail inmates from a wide range of gangs who assist him launch previous demons and lead him into true manhood, in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

These convicts are a part of the Inside Circle Foundation, identified on the jail yard because the Dragon Clan, a guarded brotherhood present beneath the radar of the 360-degree predator watchfulness that’s the de rigueur state of being in jail.

These males need to do males’s work. They need to change. They’re weary to the bone, of being unhealthy to the bone. Tired of the blood. They need to grow to be good males. But every thing in a most safety jail is … written in blood.

Which is why Director McLeary and co-director Gethin Aldous, after coming involved with the Inside Circle Foundation in 2004, wanted to work with them for an almost a decade earlier than making this documentary. Trust needed to be severely earned, as you may effectively think about.

I’d been invited to employees an Inside Circle Foundation weekend, however by no means obtained round to it. What I didn’t notice on the time is that this isn’t simply the inmates doing the work. There’s a small crew of normal, on a regular basis males who go do their males’s weekend within the jail, as an alternative choice to doing a daily New Warrior Training Adventure.

And so the initiated convicts grow to be the lecturers, guides, and mentors of the common males; the extraordinary hardship of their lives rendering them fast-tracked elders to the gentle males from the skin. But it’s not at all a one-sided trade.

We’re led by way of the razor-wired gates, previous jail personnel, all the way down to the stomach of the beast; an enormous room, the place convicts and common guys are circled up collectively, and brought by way of an African call-and-response ritual chant to invoke unity. Ritual house is established, and it’s into the ritual house of the sacred masculine, that the digital camera permits us entry.

circle of men in "The Work"
Mankind Project weekend chief and elder James McLeary main Folsom Prison inmates and free males in a unifying African call-and-response ritual in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

The Actual Work of ‘The Work’

What’s the principle factor trendy males are lacking? The boyhood-to-manhood ceremony of passage. In tribes the place changing into a person integrated a do-or-die ordeal, such because the Masai tribe’s stipulation {that a} 130-pound 16-year-old boy kill an 800-pound grownup male African lion, with a skinny spear (the lion inhabitants wanted occasional thinning or the cattle-culture Masai would quickly don’t have any extra cattle)—the male elders, uncles, and tribal warriors needed to actually rip the boy out of his mom’s arms and hustle him off to the desert or wilderness, to show him to grow to be a person.

Although the tribal ladies knew this was mandatory and performed alongside, shrieking, wailing, gnashing tooth (and secretly rolling their eyes), they had been additionally actually distraught. Because they knew, a technique or one other, they’d by no means, ever see their candy little boys once more. Their sons would both return as highly effective males with faces set in stone—or not return in any respect.

Iron John and the Inner Wild Man

As talked about, Robert Bly’s ebook concerning the Brothers Grimm fairy story “Iron John,” is the premise of the mytho-poetic males’s motion. Iron John is a huge Wild Man, coated in pink hair, who lives on the backside of a pond that the king’s son performs close to. One day, the prince’s golden ball falls within the pond.

The king’s males drain the pond, uncover large furry Iron John, and lock him in a cage. Problem is, he’s obtained the prince’s golden ball. The ball stands for boyhood’s good completeness, and in addition—a person’s potential.

How does a grown man get his gold again? He has to entry his inside wildness—his warrior. To do this, he should cease being mommy’s good little boy, that she taught him to be. He should steal the important thing to the Wild Man’s cage from the place it’s hidden—underneath her pillow. Left to their very own units with no male neighborhood in help, ladies will subconsciously hold their little boys, as boys, for so long as potential.

Robert Bly remembers explaining this dynamic to a room full of girls, and a singular, “soft” male. The man spoke up instantly and objected that stealing the important thing was mistaken, and not very good. Bly mentioned phrases to impact of, “I felt the entire, collective spirit of the women in the room rise up as one, to kill this man.” Women know issues.

Rite of Passage

The work of males’s weekends gives trendy males with their long-lost manhood ceremony of passage. By definition meaning going through an ordeal they don’t suppose they’ll have the ability to survive. This is a primal name for males, like salmon migrating upstream.

The ordeal of childbirth is a built-in gateway ritual to the maturation of the feminine tribe. Men want an outer ritual guided by tribal warriors and elders. If there’s no cultural construction for this, what can we find yourself with? Gangs. And a world of disenfranchised males.

And there you’ve gotten your reply about why some outwardly schlubby, inwardly gentle, common joes obtained concerned on this scary, prison-situated alternative—to develop into males. What’s the decision and need and impetus for the arduous males already contained in the jail? To grow to be good males.

The Cliff Notes model describing the New Warrior Training Adventure may learn: One hundred males, from all walks of life—docs, attorneys, farmers, lecturers, ex-cons, bikers, former and active-duty army, building staff, Hasidic rabbis—all races and religions—meet as strangers on a Friday night, and by Sunday afternoon they’re all brothers. And not in a shallow “bromance” approach, however in an archetypal, male, tribal, communal sense that hasn’t been skilled by males because the instances once they had been hunters, warriors, heroes, and elders in tribal life.

Two men with bandanas and tank-tops in "The Work"
Rick, white-supremacist gang chief (R) and a fellow gang member in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

The bodily challenges scare the book-smart rabbis; they should develop their bodily warrior. The emotional-literacy element scares the hyper-stoic spec-ops troopers and sailors; they should work on their openness, study to drop their guard round different males, and develop their inside king and lover.

Everyone is challenged to face their fears, and everybody has fears. Men are reclaiming their inside warrior, balancing their quadrants (the 4 archetypal quadrants of the mature masculine psyche: warrior, king, lover, and magician), upgrading, and studying concerning the sacred masculine. The wives, girlfriends, and youngsters who attend the graduations are across-the-board ecstatic concerning the outcomes. There’s no “toxic masculinity” anyplace to be seen.

That’s the work. That’s males’s work in a nutshell. All trendy males have work to do. Any males’s circle comprises males who yearn for the sacred masculine, as a way to grow to be good males, and for some who hear the additional name to Joseph Campbell’s proverbial “Hero’s Journey”—the dedication to a self-discipline of religious enlightenment.

There are 4 days value of tried-and-true processes. What will get you off the bed within the morning? What do you burn for? Anything? Some males are numb.

Like Chris, a soft-spoken museum employee, stricken with a foul case of Millennial whateverness. He sees the huge exorcisms happening left and proper, round him, and confides on the bus to Folsom on day two: “I feel like they’re trying to break me; get me to cry. I didn’t come here looking to cry, and I don’t want to feel like I’m letting them down if I don’t.” Who can’t relate to that? Right? I chuckled and thought, “Wait till he gets to ‘Little Boy’s Deepest Needs.’”

two men hug in "The Work"
Men doing “guts” work in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

On this weekend, there’s one thing that may handle each final situation males cover, repress, and deny, of their lives, and positive sufficient, Chris will get the roof torn off the inside fort the place he’s repressed the ache of a father who subtly however powerfully made him really feel silly and incapable. He didn’t know the way a lot ache he was carrying. Men not often do.

This known as “guts” work, and this could possibly be, in some ways, designated because the essence, or the flagship means of males’s work. Role-play so highly effective, with the theatrical fourth wall so firmly in place that the gamers (on this case work-ers) are so totally transported as to be channeling.

On any males’s weekend, and particularly in a most safety jail—security is paramount; a facet inherited from the army. This is psychodrama at its most intense, with the phrase “psycho” being a transparent and ever-present hazard.

Fortunately, the security on males’s weekends is as highly effective as any 280-pound NFL fullback-stopping defensive scrum, and may comprise the uncooked rage, deep disgrace, and staggering grief that flows from opened wounds. Hence the bomb containment metaphor. The ensuing therapeutic is incandescent. It’s electrifying. And it fosters focus so deep that the documentary digital camera may as effectively be filming A-list skilled actors. Method performing will not be performing, however being, and that’s what goes on right here.

The Work-ers

“The Work” focuses on three convicts and three civilians. Over the 4 days, each man takes a visit down the rabbit gap of his previous, and removes the makeshift psychic bandages from the unique wounds dealt by life. Wounds which have brought about these males to metaphorically limp by way of life.

When the incarcerated males mannequin the method, the free males see that the “safe container” of the room is certainly industrial energy, a veritable bomb containment chamber capable of comprise the rawest rage and the deepest disappointment, it encourages them to blow up out of their consolation zones and be a part of within the therapeutic.

a group of men hold a man aloft in "The Work"
A Folsom Prison inmate experiences for the primary time what it’s prefer to be supported by a neighborhood of males, his newfound brothers, which embody rival gang members and free males. (SXSW Film Festival)

Besides Chris, there’s Charles, a center aged black man, maimed by fatherlessness. There’s Rick, the Aryan Brotherhood gang member, who’s bored with all of the blood, and delicate Dark Cloud, the Skins gang member who’s in for 22 years on account of practically slicing a person in half with a machete. A West Coast Crips shot-caller is doing 75 years.

Brian is a trainer’s assistant of what appears to be like to be middle-eastern heritage. He’s obtained a Banty rooster-like have to act robust, which takes the type of knee-jerk judging of others, like he’s doing them a favor, imparting his harsh reality from on excessive. In a second of humor, when Brian goes for a drink of water, the 2 veteran inmates he’s instructed his story to, have a look at one another knowingly and smile, “Looks like we’ve got a live one.”

two men in "The Work"
Brian, a daily man with approach an excessive amount of perspective for his personal security, contemplating he’s surrounded by former killers. The jail inmates who assist him settle for himself and enter into true manhood, in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

In Conclusion

“The Work” will problem your view of who America’s prisoners actually are. You will respect as by no means earlier than the phrase, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

Perhaps essentially the most highly effective picture is of two inmates, a Blood gang chief calling out one other former Blood gang member, who, from deep in his despair, has simply let a thinly-veiled trace cling within the air, that he’ll quickly commit suicide. In a warrior showdown that’ll provide you with goosebumps, the shot-caller says he received’t stand for any quitting of life on his watch, and implores his brother to hold on for 90 days.

Two men in "The Work"
A South Central LA Crips gang chief (R), difficult a fellow inmate who’s misplaced the need to dwell, and who initiates him to the true brotherhood of males, in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

When the hopeless man acquiesces, their ensuing bear-hug offers technique to what appears like post-production sound engineering: you hear extremely accelerated heart-beats that decelerate with the brand new peace of comforting phrases. You suppose “Ah, that’s a nice touch,” after which notice the hug unintentionally slammed their microphones into their chests, which picked up their precise heartbeats. It’s magical film-making.

Since the movie was made roughly 10 years previous to it’s launch in 2017, essentially the most infamous of all gangs, MS-13 (that’s been within the information since then-president Trump spotlighted their dedication to rape as one of many many causes America wants a Southern border wall) is lacking right here. As the saying goes in males’s work, “All men need this work.”

Jeffrey Epstein wanted the work. Bill Cosby wants the work. Harvey Weinstein, O.J. Simpson, and Andrew Cuomo all want the work. Rapist-MS-13 gang wants the work. 

a gathering of men in "The Work"
A circle of initiated males: Folsom jail inmates and their new, free world brothers, in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

Due to the transformative energy of the work, inmates beforehand carrying double life sentences and the like, are being launched again into society. With no recidivism in anyway. I repeat: 100% no recidivism.

“The Work” is a monumental achievement. It will rivet your consideration for each one in all its 87 minutes.

Read my article about motion pictures containing stories of assassins who find yourself doing variations of the work.

 a circle of men in "The Work"
A circle of males who’ve carried out their work and “touched their shadow”: Folsom jail inmates and their new, free world brothers, in “The Work.” (SXSW Film Festival)

‘The Work’
Director: Jairus McLeary; Co-director: Gethin Aldous
Running Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Rating: Not rated
Release Date: Oct. 29, 2017
Rated 5 stars out of 5

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