From the VARIETY review by Jay Weissberg,


HOODLUM isn't the word that springs to mind as a group of actors indulge in joyous mayhem at the start of Mirjiam Kubescha's surprising docu, but, when it's revealed that these performers are also prisoners, the title takes on a more varied meaning. Kubescha's docu, which picked up an award at Turin, is more likely to travel abroad than its incarcerated subjects.

"Mack the Knife" takes on a whole new dimension when sung by someone locked away for murder.

The prisoners speak with dedication and warmth about their new vocation, though pic's most powerful moment comes when they address the camera and tell what they wanted to be when they grew up.That said, her point that prison doesn't do enough to rehabilitate inmates is certainly on target, and after seeing Vincenzo Lo Monaco (serving a life sentence for murder) capture Kurt Weill's edgy humor perfectly, and talk about life behind bars movingly, it's difficult not to feel some of these guys deserve a second chance.

Tech credits are tops, with d.p. Sophie Maintigneux's omnipresent camera obviously unthreatening and continually creative. Hand-held work is nicely controlled, and intense close-ups heighten the unexpected emotional impact.

Quote from the Turin Film Festival Awards:


The Jury of the DOC Competition of the Torino Film Festival, composed of Giorgio Magliulo, Giovanni Piperno and Isabella Sandri, awards the following Prizes:

Persol DOC Award

Best Documentary Film ex aequo (5,000 Euros each) to:


by Mirjam Kubescha (Italy-Germany, 35mm, 80 minutes)

The film shows that a serious, productive structure can let a talented director tell an amusing story about the South with a light hand and yet with soulfulness as well. Despite the fact that the story is told from a prison it expresses all its vitality.