The Inner Cage
- 1h 57m
The last remains of a prison, guards and a few inmates, are waiting to be transferred and gradually the rules seem to make less and less sense and the waiting men become a new fragile commun... Read allThe last remains of a prison, guards and a few inmates, are waiting to be transferred and gradually the rules seem to make less and less sense and the waiting men become a new fragile community.The last remains of a prison, guards and a few inmates, are waiting to be transferred and gradually the rules seem to make less and less sense and the waiting men become a new fragile community.
Prison overcrowding is a pressing issue currently being discussed in Italy, yet Leonardo di Costanzo chooses to tackle it through subtraction, not by presenting an overwhelmed jail, but by portraying an anomaly: a penitentiary in the sardinian mountains is due to close down, but the transfer of a small number of detainees is delayed. A group of very few prison guards are tasked to maintain order, despite not having the required resources.
Rather than a prison story, Ariaferma is best described as a human story, a story of reconciliation between two opposite groups, the guards and the prisoners.
Through the self-contained setting, the film examines the difficult coexistence of two groups that normally identify each others as enemies, but that now inevitably are both forced into isolation.
The isolated microcosm is further shut out from The narrative that eventually focuses on two main characters: an old detainee, likely an ex member of organised crime, and the appointed leader of the prison guards. Portrayed respectively by Silvio Orlando and Toni Servillo, it is their confrontation that makes up for the powerful statement of human equity that the film aims at.
Most surpisingly, it is not a story of good versus bad, or of oppressors and oppressed, and herein lies the greatest achievement of di Costanzo's work: the true antagonist of the film is the distance imposed by society on the characters, a distance that in this setting becomes extremely thin. Ariaferma truly manages to maintain the status quo without personifying this abstract antagonist into some character.
Ariaferma is however not a mere depiction of a reality or an emotional reaction seeking film, it is a most cinematic work. The prison's setting, a round cathedral-like structure makes for a very appealing location, the aforementioned rhythm, the palpable tension, the performances all round up for a film that, ahead of being a film about a social issue, is pure cinema, a carefully constructed craft of motion picture.
(excerpts from full review available on comeandreview)
- Nov 4, 2021