Every time children visit their parents at the San Vittore prison in Milan, Italy, they’re subjected to a thorough security check. They have to turn in their bags, have their shoes and dolls checked, and go through a metal detector. Then a guard leads them by the hand along the long, bare corridors to the visiting room.
The children make drawings at a workshop run by the nonprofit organization Associazione Bambinisenzasbarre Onlus. There are drawings of prison bars and a bloodied doll, with poignant words such as “I have too much responsibility,” and “I feel alone, defenseless.” The youngest children see the the ornately geometric prison as a castle.
The power of this visually striking short film lies in the simplicity of the approach, with many close-ups and distinctive framing and sound design. Words are unnecessary—the sound of a slamming door speaks volumes. This is visual artist Yuri Ancarani’s journey into the minds of children navigating the prison regime and the subtle aggression of security checks.