COCAINE PRISON vexes me - in a good way.
It is on the face of it nothing new or special. Odds are you've seen many other similar films...
...and yest some how the film wins you over and moves you more than any number of the similar films.
The film is simply the story of three people caught in the web of drug trafficking- Daisy a teenager who is trying to better her life and finish high school, her brother Hernan who is arrested with two kilos of cocaine on a trip to make some fast cash and his best friend Mario, a cocaine worker fighting for freedom. It largely transpires in San Sebastian where hundreds of people , some with their families, wait months and years for a court date in the over crowded Bolivian legal system.
Full credit has to go to director Violeta Ayala who has found three compelling people to anchor her film and who managed to get cameras into the prison so that we can see the day to day existence of prison life. Ayala gives us a truly you are there feel to the film. More importantly she draws us so deeply into the proceedings that by the end of the film we are ready to take everyone home and have dinner with them.
I was quietly amazed.
Actually I was quite moved. Violeta Ayala and her fellow filmmakers set out to pt a human face on part of the drug trade and they have done just that. They have made a film that despite it's familiarity is much more powerful and moving than most similar films because the film never loses sight of wat is important- the people at the center.
COCAINE PRISON plays at Toronto International FIlm Festival September 10, 12 and 15.