Merging reality with fiction, this Venice prize-winning film captures the challenges of life and motherhood as experienced by a Ukrainian prison’s female inmates, who are separated from their young children.
Pregnant Lesya kills her husband and enters Odessa Correctional Facility Number 74 to serve a seven-year sentence. She gives birth inside, where the law permits her to keep her son, Kolya, for three years, after which he’ll be sent to an orphanage or to live with a willing relative. As Kolya’s third birthday approaches, a sympathetic prison warden, (relentlessly criticised by her mother for being single and childless) encourages Lesya to mend her relationship with her own mother to avoid losing her son forever. From the real-life stories of 107 incarcerated women, who inhabit the margins of this film through interviews and supporting roles, Director Peter Kerekes carves out a tribute to those women living through otherwise invisible days in this complex study of female agency and motherhood.