The prison is awash with futuristic stage make-up, wigs and glitter. The use of anonymity to protect the identities of the inmates of Austria's only women's jail is elevated to an art form. Under this protective layer, director Leisch gives them the freedom to express themselves using theatre and, in this way, unmasks a legal system and its execution. It is a complex picture, drawn by the inmates themselves, of the prison as a social space, and the result of months of close collaboration. The focus is not on the daily aspects of incarceration, but on the narrow window of freedom offered by the theatre group, where the young prisoners can dance and flirt, letting go for a few hours a week. Their creativity, wit, and pathos come to the fore, outside of the usual constraints and discipline. The line between fiction and fact becomes blurred as the protagonists become their characters, leaving us to wonder whether their true stories are revealed in the interviews or the intense improvised performances.
"NOTHING IS AS SWEET AS CRIME, AS LONG AS YOU’RE NOT THE VICTIM." An inmate
English/Original Title: Gangster Girls. Writer: Tina Leisch & Ursula Wolschlager. Camera: Gerald Kerkletz. Sound: Klaus Kellermann. Editing: Karina Ressler. Music: Eva Jantschitsch. Production: Witcraft Szenario OG. Producer: Ursula Wolschlager. Length: 79 min. International Sales: Witcraft Szenario OG.