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ALONE IN FOUR WALLS

Director: ALEXANDRA WESTMEIER

GERMANY • 2007 • SUBTITLED RUSSIAN DIALOGUE • COLOUR • 35MM • 85 MIN


Producer/ cinematographer of Alone in Four Walls Inigo Westmeier will be present for a Q&A following the screening. Documentary filmmaking of the highest order, Alexandra Westmeier’s Alone in Four Walls is a beautifully shot and utterly compelling look at life in a Russian reform school whose inmates are mere boys aged between 11 and 14. These kids are serving time for crimes ranging from theft to rape and murder. They talk about their misdeeds, some boastfully, others regretfully, and some with a defeated matter-of-factness that reveals how little choice they feel they have had in their lives. In this context, the reform school, with its structure and discipline, its security and relative normality, may just offer these young people an escape into a more hopeful future.

Westmeier, who was born and trained in Russia but is now based in Germany, eschews sentimentality in favour of an austere, determinedly non-judgemental approach. She gives us glimpses of the children behind the bravado, reminding us that all involved were victims in some way. The results make for a poignant ode to a lost generation of Russian youth.

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