Documentary Recommendation: ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL

ABACUS: Excellent movie, outrageous subject.

Remember how all of the big banks got away with financial murder during the crisis of 2008?  The huge ones weren’t prosecuted.  But – incredibly, outrageously and astonishingly – one small bank in Chinatown with a clientele of Chinese-Americans and Chinese immigrants was.

The Abacus Bank and the awesome Sung family that runs it are the subjects of ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL.  Only ONE bank was put on trial over the mortgage crisis, and it was Abacus.  When you remember how gigantic and wide-spread that crisis was, doing the math here will make your blood boil.  Only ONE bank got in hot water over it?  That’s crazy.

But then when you realize the one in question was a Chinese bank, the way this one was targeted crosses the line into clear-cut racism.

The family that runs it, the Sungs, didn’t do anything wrong.  In fact, the day they found out one employee there had been “going renegade,” they fired him immediately and reported it to the authorities that oversee such matters.

For doing the right thing, what happened?  A slew of employees of the bank were arrested while chained to one another in one of the most bizarre scenes I’ve ever seen.  The Sung family wound up embroiled in a case that lasted five years.  The baseless charges, one of the family members says, “were super-imposed on us.”  Indeed, they sure were!

This is an excellent documentary, and it’s fun to see how the Sung family does not lie down and put up with their mistreatment – but stands up and fights back.  To the Sungs, I say, BRAVO!