An exploration of the lives of 107 mothers in the Odesa prison in Ukraine, where mothers are allowed to serve their sentences with their children until their third birthday.
10 wins, 17 nominations.
Czech filmmaker Peter Kerekes melds reality and fiction in a documentary that features professional actress Maryna Klimova (as Lesya). A convicted felon cuddling a cherubic-faced newborn baby is the ultimate is contradiction, but maybe the experience of motherhood will offer redemption of sorts as they stare at stone walls and prison bars. Tenderness and torture in a cold climate. A woman punished emotionally and viscerally, unable to love and care for the child who’s been her most intimate companion for the past nine months.
There’s a grudging camaraderie amongst these females of all ages as they shuffle from one vast room to the next, exchanging words and glances, facing uncomfortable facts and surroundings, rather than the love and gentleness that normally surrounds motherhood, a woman’s ultimate goal; her raison d’être, reduced to nothing. Expressing milk from the breast to the bottle – and then pouring it down the plughole feels like a terrible travesty. Surely better to drink the precious elixir of life, than pour it down the sink? And the babies are the ultimate victims, torn from their mother’s warmth, they languish in metal cots crying pitifully until the orphanage or a family member claims them.
Motherhood behind bars is an unusual subject for a male filmmaker but one that Kerekes delivers with sensitivity in a delicate colour palette. There’s a rhythmic quality to his framing and mise-en-scene that makes this ‘docudrama’ appealing despite the subject matter. Social realism would have been too grim. 107 Mothers is compulsive and memorable despite its flaws. – Meredith Taylor | Filmuforia
1.99GB | 1h 32m | 1280×720 | mkv