» Strike of the Tortured Angels (1982, Hong Kong)

The embedded subtitles on this dubbed-into-English film (at least the version on YouTube) would seem to be a mixture of Danish and Finnish or other Scandinavian languages, which doesn’t seem to make much sense. But then, nor does much else in the film. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 30th, 2019 at 5:42 pm. Updated on July 7th, 2019 at 1:01 pm.

» Chasers (1994, USA)

If there were no The Last Detail (1973), this might seem like a different prison-ish road movie. As there is, it’s maybe not so different. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 29th, 2019 at 8:07 pm. Updated on June 29th, 2019 at 8:17 pm.

» Tango Libre (2012, France / Belgium / Luxembourg)

Tango Libre - François Damiens as Jean-Christophe (JC)

The tango. Tango libre. Prison. You’d have to say that they are strange bedfellows, but in this beautifully crafted story, full of passion and tenderness and entanglements and implausibility, they fit together very nicely.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 9th, 2019 at 3:45 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:46 pm.

» 14 Tage Lebenslänglich / 14 Days to Life (1997, Germany)

14 t - Kai Wiesinger as Konrad von Seidlitz

Cynical, arrogant, foppish star lawyer Konrad von Seidlitz (Kai Wiesinger) engineers a 14 day spell in prison for himself by refusing to pay traffic fines – a stunt to protest being fined in the first place, and to give his legal firm some free publicity (celebrating his act of civil courage). And to demonstrate that he can do time in prison easily. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on June 2nd, 2019 at 3:41 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:42 pm.

» Le fidèle / Racer and the Jailbird (2017, Belgium and others)

Racer and the Jailbird - Matthias Schoenaerts as Gino ('Gigi') Vanoirbeek

I’m not sure now why I thought that this might be a prison movie. The title, maybe. The French title (‘the faithful’) is sober and apposite. The English title has a different tone altogether – wacky, almost, or whimsical. To be clear: it’s not a prison movie, barely managing a few minutes of prison time, and it’s neither wacky nor whimsical. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on May 12th, 2019 at 3:40 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:41 pm.

» Now Barabbas Was a Robber (1949, UK)

Now Barabbas Was a Robber - Stephen Murray as the Padre and Richard Greene as Dick Tufnell

It’s Good Friday as I’m writing this… and pondering, fittingly, the allusion to Barabbas in the title. What can it mean? One thread of the film concerns a man who has mightily affronted the authorities, and whose non-judgmental love for a prostitute has ‘healed’ her. A little familiar, you might think. But there’s no guilty rogue spared here while an innocent man goes to his death; the man awaiting execution is very much guilty (of the premeditated murder of a policeman), and none of those who walk free, or go unpunished, are of Barabbas’s ilk… and nor do they pave the way for the other man’s execution. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on April 30th, 2019 at 3:39 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:40 pm.

» El patio de mi cárcel / My Prison Yard (2008, Spain)

My Prison Yard - Violeta Pérez as Rosa and Verónica Echegui as Isa

I watched this film with, I’m sorry to say, less than perfect comprehension… after the failure of several pathetic attempts to find good English subtitles. I was a little bemused to subsequently find a reference in one review to a duck in the prison, which I thought I’d missed, only to learn that it resulted from the translation of the mistranscribed ‘El pato de mi cárcel’. Sadly, outside of English I am always finding ducks or missing them (whichever is wrong). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on March 19th, 2019 at 3:38 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:39 pm.

» Asura (2015, India)

Asura - Ravi Verma as Chandrasekhar (aka Charlie) and Nara Rohit as Dharma Teja

Think of any one of the thousands of shoot-first-ask-questions-later-type cops who are constantly at odds with their superiors for going outside the rules and dispensing rough justice. Then imagine that same cop wanting more than anything to write poetry. Or, when that cop happens to be a prison Jailor and has single-handedly recaptured (with transactional violence) eight of his prisoners who have escaped, him saying of them, “Living inside four walls is not enough (for them) to become good. They should be living amongst good people, but they can’t find any good people here.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on March 11th, 2019 at 3:37 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:38 pm.

» Anime perse / The Jail: The Women’s Hell (2006, Italy)

The Jail: The Women's Hell - Yvette Yzon as Jennifer Estrada, making a gruesome discovery

Somehow, this film slipped past the gatekeeper. But if I ever wanted to remind myself why I avoid exploitative Women in Prison movies, this would do the trick. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on February 25th, 2019 at 3:36 pm. Updated on December 9th, 2019 at 1:12 pm.

» Krotkaya / A Gentle Creature (2017, Russia / France and others)

A Gentle Creature - Visilina Makovtseva as the gentle creature

I knew this wasn’t a fair dinkum prison movie, but I thought it might contain some interesting observations about prisons; I’d read that it was about a woman in a small Russian village whose parcel sent to her imprisoned husband is returned without any explanation, and she sets out to learn why: a prison conspiracy, perhaps? It transpires that her cheerless search for the truth provides a very dark commentary on life in Russia, and a bit, but not so much, about prison. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on February 20th, 2019 at 3:34 pm. Updated on June 13th, 2019 at 3:35 pm.