May 14, 2014
Federal Penal Colony No. 56 is situated in central Russia, in the middle of a forest larger than Germany and a seven-hour drive from the nearest city. In winter, temperatures fall to 40 degrees below zero. There are 260 prisoners serving out their sentences, all of them for murder.
Filmmakers Nick Read and Mark Franchetti managed to gain access to this isolated world, where they focused their meticulous eye for detail on the prisoner’s daily lives.
In remarkably candid interviews, the men talk about their crimes and their punishment. What does freedom mean to them? Is penitence and forgiveness possible for their terrible deeds? The prison’s director of 26 years also has his say. He too is condemned to this godforsaken place, not as punishment, but by a contract.
Directed by Nick Read