My Prison Yard: Freedom behind bars at San Sebastián

Article published on Sept. 25, 2008
Article published on Sept. 25, 2008
After two internationally successful shorts, Mala Espina and El Puzzle (the latter which was nominated for a Goya), director Belén Macías presented her first feature film at the San Sebastián Film Festival in the official selection. ''My Prison Yard'' was one of the most highly anticipated films a the festival.
It tells the story of marginalized, imprisoned women: Isa, a bankrobber; Dolores, the gypsy wife-killer; Rosa, a prostitute in love; Ajo, capable of doing anything for love; and Luisa, an innocently guilty Colombian woman. As well as Mar, a prison officer set on changing the rules the rules with the spirit of Antigone.

My Prison Yard follows the true story of the Modulo 4 theatre company, made up entirely of prisoners, which instigated a radical change in Spanish prison legislation in the 1990s.

At San Sebastián, Macías proved herself to be a mature and courageous director. Surrounded by a stellar cast, headed by Veronica Echegui and Candela Peña, the filmmaker from Madrid has painted a devastating and claustrophobic human portrait. The world-class producers and actors abandoned the glamour of the red carpet to be at the film’s first screening in the Principe theatre, reserved for journalists.

The silence interrupted only by short sobs at the end of the film was eloquent testimony to this powerful film that explodes in the heart.

Produced by Augustín Almodóvar for El Deseo and distributed internationally by Pathé International, My Prison Yard is deservedly up for a Golden Shell award.

Carlo d'Ursi