The young, naive Smitty is sent to prison for six months; Cathy, his girlfriend, watches as he disappears behind the bars and barbed wire. He's assigned a cell with Queenie, a balls-out ... See full summary »
Carla, a lonely forty-year-old child psychiatrist, devotes all her time to her job. One day a man appears and gradually gets into her life. He tells her he is the lover of Nina, her estranged sister...
A young man who is charged with child molestation is placed in New York City's infamous Tombs prison. When the other inmates in his cell block find out what he is charged with, life becomes extremely difficult for him. Written by
Miguel Pinero, the author of the play upon which this film is based (and the actor who plays Go-Go), wrote the play as part of an inmate writers' workshop while incarcerated at Sing Sing Prison for armed robbery. He missed the premiere of the film because he had been arrested for armed robbery. All of the money he received for the film ($40,000) he gave away to homeless friends and former prison-mates. He reportedly lived on the street even after the film's acclaimed release, using a pay phone as an office. See more »
Yakoo, maker and creator of the devil! Swine merchant, your time is near at hand. Fuck with me, and your time will be now. Your presence here affects the mind of my people like a fever. You, yakoo, are the bearer of 9,999 diseases: evil, corrupt pork-chop-eating atrocities!
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Short Eyes is to prison pictures what the atom bomb is to weaponry powerful and frightening from one end to the other. In fact, I'm surprised the movie got made at all since it's got all the commercial appeal of live surgery. But once you start watching, you can't stop. The characters are real and riveting, the setting an actual prison (The Tombs), and the violence sudden and brutal. It's almost like being in prison, except thankfully you're not.
The story is about one floor of the lockup where the packed-in racial groups appear poised for combat like Europe in 1914. There's a tense truce as long as Whites, Blacks, and Browns observe the unwritten rules and don't invade the wrong space. Too bad they're not making music all the time because that's the only time they seem in harmony. Then into this tense mix comes a guy everyone can despise, a child-molester (Davison). Worse, he's a white guy who even looks like "the man". So he's got as much chance of surviving as a minnow has among sharks-- that is, if the authorities don't pull him out first. And, kind of surprisingly, we wish they would since after listening to his "story", he seems more pathetic than wicked.
Two things to note. Catch how difficult it is for any kind of humanity to survive amid racially charged, oppressive conditions that the authorities (guards, supervisors) only make worse. Juan (Perez) wants to cling to some vestige, but he's got to do it within the unwritten rules. And, in this testosterone-soaked atmosphere, the problem isn't just ethnic, it's other guys in general. However, the most nightmarish part is the threat of emasculation, men being denied their identity and turned into substitute women. That scene in the shower between Cupcakes and Paco may be more unsettling than even the knifing in Psycho (1960). I expect this loss of sexual identity may be the most unnerving part of a genuinely frightening movie, by which Hollywood's prison films pale in comparison.
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