Russian Prison System Documentary – Mark of Cain

This is a really moving and powerful doco on the Russian prison system -Called the Mark of Cain, throughout the programme it talks a great deal about prison tattoos and what they mean in Russian prisons -to Russian prisoners. All tatts have significance, and all are supposed to tell a story about your life and what youve been through -mostly inside ‘the zone’ which they call the prison system. Hard to watch but it is made very matter of factly, letting the people speak for themselves and the faces to show what they mean, which is about what you need in order to watch something so distressing…Even the hardest looking guys have gruelling pain etched in their faces…But these days, the overcrowded system is rapidly changing as they continue to stuff more and more people -men and women -into these prisons. And these days -one doesnt get the tats they ‘deserve’, these days money buys you the tattoos you can afford, so youngsters get whatever they like, usurping the entire ‘code’, leaving many of the prisoners finding other ways to reflect some authority where its every man for themselves. The prison system currently sits at 1.5mill, incredible overcrowding and some very disturbing stuff said about TB…Another prison called ‘White swan’ is also shown, which was based on this idea that if its horrid enough for the inmates, people will just cancel each other out…awful…(i saw another one on a prison called Black Dolphin’, some kinda high security showcase prison where they send the worst prisoners and prosecuted chechens, its a high security hellhole…Anyway, here it is…Its an hour long but i reckon youll find it very hard not to watch to the end. What are we doing to people??

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Andrea Diefenbach: AIDS in Odessa

A short film looking at HIV/AIDS in Odessa. I like this film because it shows in a very straightforward way, the people behind the statistics we so often read about. Done through photography, it gives us a glimpse into the years people live through with HIV as it turns to AIDS, as they battle to get access to treatments that will keep them alive, often fighting Tuberculosis and other viruses as well. It is extremely moving, a big story told through small pictures, please spend 5 minutes to have a look…

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