Things are moving in the documentary genre. New and original ways of storytelling come out of the blue. Like in this case where British director Brian Hill went to the Downview Prison in Sutton England to make a film with and about the female prisoners.
He hired a composer and a songwriter to make human and compassionate those often very tough and tragic stories that got the women into prison. The prisoners themselves sing their stories, which makes the storytelling dynamic and deep and warm. It’s pure Verfremdungseffekt, Brecht would have loved it.
It ends up being a documusical, quite extraordinary. You are totally taken by the women and their stories about burglary and drug smuggling – nevertheless the strongest story is the one with a non-singing inmate, who happened to kill a woman, a neighbour that she wanted to threaten with a knife because of constant partying and noise from the neighbour’s side. She sort of walked into the knife…
Brian Hill: Songbirds. UK, 2005
More about the festival: http://www.cphdox.dk/d1/front.lasso