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Jailbirds (Geschlossene Gesellschaft)

Scene from "Jailbirds" (photo © EIKON / Bernd Meiners)

The Lifer's Wing and other stories. Day-to-day life in a Romanian high-security prison.

“Outside is whitewashed. Inside is dark and wretched” – song of Rahova. Jailbirds is about life and survival behind the walls of Rahova, a “modern” high-security jail on the outskirts of Bucharest.

Rahova mirrors the nearby city of Bucharest: An overcrowded concrete mountain, a Balkan cage behind western-style walls. In order to make it through their prison-term, each inmate tries to be a little faster, louder and more cunning than the others. Running to stand still, paddling to keep afloat, using their wits and humor to survive.

Over the course of six months, the film tracks the stories of the men in the lifer’s wing and the women awaiting trial in an extremely overcrowded cell. Two lifers, a female dealer and the vice-director give their views on survival. Life on the outside, life on the inside.
Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2005
Director Andrei Schwartz
Screenplay Andrei Schwartz
Cinematography Bernd Meiners
Andrei Schwartz, Andreas Zitzmann
Lura Badea, Nadia Tonson
Producer Ernst Ludwig Ganzert
Production Company EIKON Südwest/Stuttgart
Runtime 90 min
Format color
Subtitled Versions English, German
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Locarno 2005 (Critics' Week), FIPATEL Biarritz 2006
With backing from Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, MFG Baden-Württemberg, MEDIA

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