The Inevitable Rape

» Convict (2014, Australia)

Convict - George Basha as Ray Francis

When this opened where I live, it opened, I think, for just one session in one cinema. That might say as much as needs to be said. (more…)

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 10:56 pm. Updated on April 14th, 2014 at 10:56 pm.

» 7 Stones (2012, USA)

7 Stones - Melissa Anschutz as Laura Brummels

7 Stones is only 46 minutes long. It seems longer. It is a fairly opaque 46 minutes. (more…)

Posted on January 8th, 2014 at 9:50 pm. Updated on January 8th, 2014 at 9:50 pm.

» 72. Koğuş (2011, Turkey)

72. Koğuş - Prisoners in Ward 72 with Yavuz Bingöl as Ahmet Kaptan in the centre

Translating as Ward 72 (or Cell 72), this is an updated version of the 1987 film based on Orhan Kemal’s 1967 play about being imprisoned during his wartime military service in Niğde. If you’re looking for a cheery film to watch, this probably isn’t it. But it’s very much worth watching. (more…)

Posted on December 21st, 2013 at 7:21 pm. Updated on December 21st, 2013 at 7:21 pm.

» The Concrete Jungle (1982, USA)

The Concrete Jungle - Tracy Bregman as Elizabeth Demming, Barbara Luna as Cat, and Niki Dantine as Margo

Three years after The Concrete Jungle was released, a film called Concrete Hell (aka Turning to Stone) hit the cinemas in Canada. There are plenty of parallels between the two, aside from their shared interest in building materials used in prison construction. Both feature young women charged with cocaine importation who are deserted by their male partners and dropped into brutal prisons which are controlled by big-haired queen bees. The Concrete Jungle definitely came first. Turning to Stone is definitely better. (more…)

Posted on November 27th, 2013 at 9:09 pm. Updated on November 27th, 2013 at 9:09 pm.

» ขัง 8 / Khang Paed / Butterfly in Grey (2002, Thailand)

Butterfly in Grey - Srungsuda Lawanprasert as Daosawai and Anuwan Preyanon as Pak

There is no shortage of messages here. “Prison is a state of mind; the walls, the bars, the locks, the barbed wire,” is the upfront one, direct from director Sananjit Bangsapan. But then the leading lady boasts that ‘Stoicism overcomes all’, and others’ stories remind us that ‘One doesn’t have to be in prison to be imprisoned’. Or for life to be tough, for that matter. And finally we’re cautioned, by one who should know, that ‘Sex causes trouble’. So many messages! So little consequence. (more…)

Posted on November 13th, 2013 at 8:39 pm. Updated on November 13th, 2013 at 9:08 pm.

» Fleischwolf / Meatgrinder (1990, Austria)

Fleischwolf - Maximilan Mller as Mario (centre) with Christopher Heinz as Karli Knigsdofer behind him to the left

“Few institutions invented by men are so obviously unsuccessful as prisons,” Christian Broda, Austrian lawyer and politician, is quoted as saying at the very end of Fleischwolf. It is a short film, just 70 minutes, with most of it dedicated to proving the aptness of Broda’s conclusion. (more…)

Posted on September 19th, 2013 at 10:32 pm. Updated on September 19th, 2013 at 10:36 pm.

» Turning to Stone (1985, Canada)

Turning to Stone - Nicky Guadagni as Allison Campbell

Also known by the unfortunately dumbed-down title of ‘Concrete Hell‘, this is a nicely-crafted movie that traces the inexorable corruption of a newcomer to prison. It suggests that for her, and for others, there is no escaping being dragged into the brutality of prison life. And that to the uninitiated, prison is a vastly different world, operating under its own rules. At the film’s close, as the newcomer, Allison Campbell (Nicky Guadagni), finally elects to go into 23-hour lockdown in protective custody - the only way she can avoid either becoming inextricably entrenched in the queen bee’s criminal network, or being bashed or stabbed - she wryly reflects on the life ‘in a bubble’ that will be hers for the remainder of her sentence.  ”Listen, what are you complaining about?” a guard reproves. “It was your choice.”  ”Was it?” says Allison. And that’s clearly the question that we are ultimately asked to answer ourselves.  (more…)

Posted on July 16th, 2013 at 9:38 pm. Updated on July 16th, 2013 at 9:38 pm.

» Nightmare in Badham County (1976, USA)

Nightmare in Badham County - Deborah Raffin as Cathy Phillips

You could be forgiven for thinking that this is just another exploitative Women-in-Prison movie. And it probably is. But it duped me, somehow, into thinking it might be something more. (more…)

Posted on July 7th, 2013 at 8:18 pm. Updated on July 7th, 2013 at 8:18 pm.

» K-11 (2012, USA)

K-11 - Kate del Castillo as Mousey rules the roost

K-11 sounded to me like a submarine, or a lubricant. I hadn’t realised that it is a real segregated housing option for gay and transsexual men at Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail, around which this drama is based. Loosely based, and with extra salaciousness, one hopes.

(more…)

Posted on May 20th, 2013 at 10:46 pm. Updated on May 20th, 2013 at 10:47 pm.

» Kongen av Bastøy / King of Devil’s Island (2010, Norway)

King of Devil's Island -

This is a cold, cold film. An escapee is returned to the prison, barefoot in the snow. Young men shiver in the forest, huddling together in the freezing rain, unable to find shelter. It is the unrelenting cold, as much as anything, that serves to remind us of how estranged these boys are from the warmth of people who care for them - and which constantly underscores the brutality of their existence. The cold… and the practice of referring to the boys only by their number, not their names.

(more…)

Posted on June 4th, 2012 at 10:39 pm. Updated on June 4th, 2012 at 10:39 pm.