“I’m here for murder, not for a sex offense,” says one of the prisoners off-camera. He wants to make this clear because if he ever becomes eligible for a transfer, he’ll have more chance as a murderer than as a sex offender. He’s in the minority in the Casabianda open detention facility in Corsica, because 80 percent of the inmates are serving sentences for sex offenses, mostly committed against a family member. They are pariahs among pariahs, but the patient camera of Guillaume Massart reveals the people behind the offenders.
Over the years that Massart spends in Casabianda, what begins as an observational documentary about a prison without walls and barbed wire develops into a breathtaking quest for humanity. In his disarmingly direct questioning, Massart takes his time to delve into the moral quagmire of the deeply troubled inmates. He finds despair and self-reflection, but also denial. At the same time, the film raises complex dilemmas about retribution and forgiveness, including the seemingly simple question as to whether everyone deserves a second chance.
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