The Strip Search

» Baykot / Boycott (1986, Iran)

There are plenty of films about political prisoners, and plenty about jail politics. There are not so many where those two overlap to the degree that they do in this movie.

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Posted on September 12th, 2021 at 10:40 pm. Updated on September 12th, 2021 at 10:47 pm.

» The Bid (2021, USA)

Isn’t social media supposed to be this untamed thing that encourages edgy, boundaries-pushing comedy; providing a counterpoint to traditional ‘mainstream entertainment’? It’s disappointing, then, that this movie by Maurquis Boone and Richard ‘Filthy Rich’ Harris – who, it seems, have forged successful careers in social media and who wrote, directed and starred in this low-budget comedy – tends to mimic the more tired and tiresome of mainstream offerings. (more…)

Posted on July 4th, 2021 at 11:58 pm. Updated on July 4th, 2021 at 11:58 pm.

» Heart, Baby (2017, USA)

Someone did this film a great disservice in giving it the alternative title of The Hammer, presumably to make it appeal to a broader audience. It makes it sound very much like a testosterone-filled boxing movie, but boxing plays second fiddle to what really matters. Maybe even fourth or fifth fiddle.

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Posted on June 6th, 2021 at 10:37 pm. Updated on June 6th, 2021 at 10:37 pm.

» Brothers (1977, USA)

This is a ‘thinly disguised’ account of the prison life of Soledad Brother George Jackson, part of which takes in his romance with activist Angela Davis. It’s an unheralded ’70s prison movie that deserves more heralding, even if it loses a bit of momentum once prisoner and professor meet and start cheesily narrating their letters to each other accompanied by a laid-back R&B soundtrack. (more…)

Posted on December 27th, 2020 at 3:29 pm. Updated on December 27th, 2020 at 3:29 pm.

» Prigione di donne / Riot in a Women’s Prison (1974, Italy)

“I don’t want to get to be you and stagnate and finish here… I don’t want to grow old living in here,” says prison novice Martine Fresienne (Martine Brochard) to her cellmates. What her pronouncement lacks in diplomacy, it makes up for in wackiness. (more…)

Posted on August 30th, 2020 at 7:39 pm. Updated on August 30th, 2020 at 7:39 pm.

» La Taularde / Jailbirds (2015, France / Belgium)

“You’re the one who chose prison. Now own it,” Chief Guard Elise Schoelcher (Marie-Sohna Condé) tells Mathilde Leroy (Sophie Marceau), who is desperately keen to be relieved of her edgy cellmate. It’s fair advice in the circumstances. (more…)

Posted on June 23rd, 2020 at 10:03 pm. Updated on June 23rd, 2020 at 10:03 pm.

» Femmine in Fuga / Women in Fury  (1984, Italy / Brazil)

This is based on a true story. Allegedly. A beautiful young woman, Angela Duvall (Suzane Carvalho), stupidly takes the rap for her morally dissolute, heroin-addled brother, Sergio, who has killed a drug pusher. A third man at the scene would seem to have much to lose should Angela identify him, and he evidently has lots of friends in high-up places who can make life difficult for her. She is given 18 years in the nick, and thrown to the wolves. (more…)

Posted on May 30th, 2020 at 5:59 pm. Updated on May 30th, 2020 at 5:59 pm.

» Sulla mia pelle / On My Skin (2018, Italy)

On 22 October 2009 Stefano Cucchi, a 31-year-old surveyor, boxer, and drug user for 15 years, died in Sandro Pertini prison hospital while awaiting trial on drug possession and trafficking charges. He had been arrested in Rome on 15 October with a modest amount of drugs, and had been badly beaten by the arresting Carabinieri – suffering a broken jaw, two broken vertebrae, and other facial injuries, amongst others. When found dead in his prison ward seven days later he weighed just 37kg. On My Skin recounts the story of this young man, (‘twice murdered by the state’¹), over that week. (more…)

Posted on May 3rd, 2020 at 12:04 pm. Updated on May 3rd, 2020 at 12:04 pm.

» Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil / Freedom at Midnight (2018, India)

Post-Shawshank riddle: How does a first-time, stitched-up, white-collar financial services chap on a murder charge cope with prison? A: He digs deep.  (more…)

Posted on April 15th, 2020 at 10:03 pm. Updated on April 15th, 2020 at 10:03 pm.

» Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story (1980, USA)

So, the whole shocking story of Alcatraz’s 29-year life as a Federal Penitentiary comes down to just two incidents, does it – the May 1946 failed escape attempt known as the ‘Battle of Alcatraz’, and the June 1962 escape bid that may or may not have been successful? Oh, and a bit of filler in-between about Clarence Carnes and Robert Stroud. Nothing else, it seems, was shocking, or part of the whole Alcatraz story. (more…)

Posted on March 7th, 2020 at 8:14 pm. Updated on March 7th, 2020 at 8:14 pm.