The Inner Cage

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The Inner Cage (Ariaferma)

The Inner Cage (Ariaferma)

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Tempesta, Amka Films Productions, Vision Distribution, Rai Cinema, supported by Ministero della Cultura, RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera / SRG SSR, with the support of Federal Office of Culture, Eurimages, CNC, Regione Lazio, Regione Sardegna, Sardegna Film Commission Foundation





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An old prison built in the 19th century, located in a remote and unspecified part of the Italian territory, is being decommissioned. As a result of bureaucratic holdups the transfers have been blocked and a dozen inmates are left, along with a few guards, waiting to be sent to new destinations. In a suspended atmosphere, the rules that keep them separate are slackened and new forms of relationship emerge among the remaining men.

Mortana prison does not exist in reality: it is an imaginary place, created out of the experience of visits to many jails. Almost everywhere we found a great willingness to talk, to open up. Sometimes the meetings would be attended by guards, managers and some of the inmates. And it proved easy to create a strange climate of conviviality, with people almost vying to tell their own stories. There was laughter too. Then, when the meeting was over, everyone resumed their roles and the men in uniform, keys in hand, took the others, the convicts, back to their cells. In the face of this drastic return to reality, we outsiders experienced a sense of disorientation. And it was this feeling that guided the making of the film: Ariaferma is not a film on the conditions in Italian prisons. It is perhaps a film on the absurdity of imprisonment.