Russia, 45 min
Nikita Yefimov brings his camera into a Russian high-security detention centre. The head of the penitentiary department offers to personally enact moments from prison life to control its image. From this setting emerges an astonishing documentary comedy that reveals the behind the scenes of an institution.
Nikita Yefimov brings his camera into the maximum-security detention centre in Saint Petersburg to portray the head of the penitentiary department. The latter offers to personally enact a few moments from the prison’s daily life, to convey a positive image of the centre. The officer thus improvises himself as a director and prepares, from scratch, domino matches or freestyle rap performances, with the complicity of the inmates who hope to benefit from it. Nothing escapes Nikita Yefimov’s watchful eye, who records with irony the officer’s moves and all the stages of production. Through this set-up, Strict Regime subtly recounts the back-stage goings-on of an institution and the games of power and representation at play. Alone in this huis-clos with his camera, the director successfully captures the complexity of the living conditions in this Russian high-security centre. Nikita Yefimov has created a touching and promising debut documentary comedy.