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New Zealand International Film Festival

July to November NZ wide | TVNZ

Cell 211: Film Festival

Cell 211

Celda 211, Spain/France 2009, 111m

Director: Daniel Monzón
Festivals: Venice, Toronto 2009

"Daniel Monzón's Cell 211 is a gripping, suspenseful thriller, as well as a political commentary on the situation in Spanish jails today. While the film hits several notes popular to the prison film genre, it also questions the extent to which the violence characteristically bred within these facilities is due to the "untameable" disposition of the prisoner. Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) wants to make a good impression at his new job as a prison officer and reports to work a day early, leaving his pregnant wife, Elena (Marta Etura), at home.

His destiny is forever changed by this fateful decision, as during his tour of the prison, an accident occurs that knocks him unconscious. He is rushed to the empty but visibly haunted walls of cell 211. As this diversion unfolds, inmates of the high-security cellblock strategically break free and hijack the penitentiary. Aware of the violence that is to come, the prison officers flee, leaving Juan stranded and unconscious in the heart of the riot. When Juan awakens, he immediately takes stock of the situation; in order to survive, he must pretend to be a prisoner.

Tinged with social undertones, Cell 211 offers an entertaining yet provocative reflection on the moral grey zones that continue to riddle the socially abject space of the state penitentiary." - Toronto International Film Festival

In Spanish with English subtitles