The Mark of Cain documents the fading art form and “language” of Russian criminal tattoos, formerly a forbidden topic in Russia. The now vanishing practice is seen as reflecting the transition of the broader Russian society. Filmed in some of Russia’s most notorious prisons, including the fabled White Swan, the interviews with prisoners, guards, and criminologists reveal the secret language of “The Zone” and “The Code of Thieves” (Vor v zakone).
The prisoners of the Stalinist Gulag, or "Zone," as it is called, developed a complex social structure (documented as early as the 1920s) that incorporated highly symbolic tattooing as a mark of rank. The existence of these inmates at prisons and forced labor camps was treated by the state as a deeply kept secret. In the 1990s, Russia's prison population exploded, with overcrowding among the worst in the world. Some estimates suggest that in the last generation over thirty million of Russia's inmates have had tattoos even though the process is illegal inside Russian prisons.
The Mark of Cain examines every aspect of the tattooing, from the actual creation of the tattoo ink, interviews with the tattooers and soberly looks at the double-edged sword of prison tattoos. In many ways, they were needed to survive brutal Russian prisons, but mark the prisoner for life, which complicates any readmission to “normal” society they may have. Tattoos expressly identify what the convict has been convicted of, how many prisons he’s been in and what kind of criminal he is. Tattoos, essentially, tell you everything you need to know about that person without ever asking. Each tattoo represents a variety of things; cupolas on churches represent the number of convictions a convict has, epaulets tattooed on shoulders represent the rank of the individual in the crime world and so on and so forth.
The unflinching look at the Russian prison system is slowly woven into the film. Cells meant to hold 15 hold 35 to 45 men. Drug resistant tuberculosis runs rampant through the prison populations and prisoners are served three meals a day of watery slop. There are allegations of brutality by the guards. As these men deal with pestilence, violence and grossly substandard living conditions, the prison guards and administration put on a talent show.
The film served as source material for David Cronenberg’s 2007 dramatic movie, Eastern Promises. He commented, "This is a very courageous documentary on the tattooing subculture in Russian prisons. I don't know how it ever got made, but it's beautiful, scary, and heartbreaking."
Read more about this topic: The Mark Of Cain (2000 Film)
Other articles related to "content, contents":
... A Bill for the more effectual preventing clandestine Outlawries ... For the more effectual preventing Clandestine Outlawries in Personal Actions, Be it Enacted by the Queen's most excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same ...
... Drupal ( /ˈdruːpəl/) is a free and open-source content management framework (CMF) written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License ... as Drupal core, contains basic features common to content management systems ... a community website providing for user-generated content ...
... Many argue that file-sharing has forced the owners of entertainment content to make it more widely available legally through fee or advertising on demand on the internet, rather than remain static with TV, radio, DVD ... Content for purchase has been higher than illegal in North America aggregate internet traffic since at least 2009.As content becomes more available for pay streaming and legal ...
... Information and Content Exchange (ICE) is an XML-based protocol used for content syndication via the Internet ... Content management is usually built into the ICE server ...
Contents on Wikipedia may refer to Category:Contents, the top-level category in Wikipedia's category system.
Famous quotes containing the word content:
“The President has paid dear for his White House. It has commonly cost him all his peace, and the best of his manly attributes. To preserve for a short time so conspicuous an appearance before the world, he is content to eat dust before the real masters who stand erect behind the throne.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“First it must be known that only a spoken word or a conventional sign is an equivocal or univocal term; therefore a mental content or concept is, strictly speaking, neither equivocal nor univocal.”
—William of Occam (c. 12851349)
“You are not satisfied unless form is so strictly divorced from content that you can comprehend the one without almost without bothering to read the other.”
—Samuel Beckett (19061989)