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"Private Violence"

U.S. Documentary

*** 1/2 (three and a half stars)

A Tribune colleague who covers domestic violence issues once complained to me that the issue never changes, because the women always go back to their abusers. The documentary "Private Violence" goes a long way toward explaining why, and toward starting a new conversation about how the justice system handles domestic abuse. Director Cynthia Hill does this not with statistics, but with the life's work of Kit Gruelle, a North Carolina victim's advocate who trains other people to help fight for the rights of the abused. Following several cases and focusing on Deanna Walters, who was beaten by her estranged husband on a four-day cross-country truck haul, the movie illuminates the second level of abuse perpetrated by a disbelieving judicial system and a culture that blames the victim. This movie (airing later this year on HBO) is a must-see for anyone who cares about women or justice.

— Sean P. Means

"Private Violence" screens again in the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City; Thursday at 9 p.m. the Temple Theatre, Park City; Friday at noon at the Sundance Screening Room, Sundance resort; and Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Holiday Village Cinema 4, Park City.

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