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Abacus: Small Enough to Jail


Location: Bartos Screening Room

2018 Academy Award Nominee – Best Documentary Feature

Dir. Steve James. 2017, 90 mins. Digital projection. The latest film from documentary legend Steve James tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves—and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community–over the course of a five-year legal battle. “The craft on display in Steve James’s new film Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is so sturdy and comforting that the experience of watching it almost feels like a hug. Steve James is a filmmaker who seemingly never loses sight of where he is, and what’s important to film. Whether it’s Chicago, Hampton, Huntsville, Pomona, or, now, Chinatown, he’s firmly in place. While watching his films, we are too.”—Jeff Reichert, Reverse Shot

Preceded by


Dir. Laura Checkoway. 2017, 29 mins. Digital projection. 2018 Academy Award Nominee – Best Documentary Short. Edith and Eddie, ages 96 and 95, are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. Their unusual and idyllic love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart. “Edith+Eddie starts out feeling like an inspirational story. A black woman and white man find each other, and love, in their mid-90s. But as the couple is separated due to a legal battle, what could have been a life-affirming hug turns into something darker: an indictment of the elder-care system, with racial undertones.”—Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

Tickets: $15 ($11 seniors and students / $7 youth (ages 3–17) / free for children under 3 and Museum members at the Film Lover and Kids Premium levels and above). Order tickets online. (Members may contact [email protected] with questions regarding online reservations.)

Ticket purchase includes same-day admission to the Museum (see gallery hours). View the Museum’s ticketing policy here. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.