What I Want My Words to Do to You


Bottom 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2003 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Judith Katz, Madeleine Gavin, Gary Sunshine, Eve Ensler, Carol Jenkins, Dyana Taylor, Paul Gibson


"Can a person's life have a meaning again once she has done something truly horrible?" In this raw and deeply emotional documentary, a group of inmates are asked to address this question in a writing workshop led by playwright Eve Enster at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, Each woman in the writing group, including high-profile convicts such as Former Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin and Judy Clark, accepts the challenge of addressing her crime, reckoning with her past, and envisioning a meaningful future in the face of spending the rest of life behind bars. The stories they share are lessons on self-discovery and the power of taking responsibility for one's life and actions from which we can all learn.

More than simply a document of a writing workshop., What I Want My Words to Do to You is a film about the power and mechanics of the artistic process. After the gruelling and intimate process of struggling to articulate deep and difficult trusts, the inmate's manuscripts are then rehearsed and performed by a group of actresses for the entire prison population. A palpable feeling grows in the audience as the performance feeds the human hunger for transformation.


Shari Frilot (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.