Jammed

PRISON: Light is shed on the failure of Chile's prison system as 81 inmates burn to death while their families remain behind locked gates.

The Sky Is Red is a necessary documentary, but it’s a tough one to watch. It is also a difficult story to explain. Perhaps that is why Francina Carbonell decided to stick so closely to the court files of the case investigation on the incident.

Focused on the scandalous trial for the death of 81 inmates in the fire of Tower 5, in the San Miguel prison in 2010, The Sky Is Red reveals the infamous living conditions of the penitentiary facilities in Chile.

Starting the painful procession of facts from the judicial analysis of the incident, on the fourth floor of Tower 5, the black walls, the flooded floors, and the closed, windowless, empty rooms, presage a monumental catastrophe.

Only the sound montage is allowed certain licenses, setting up the dead to yell among the living with a clamor that makes the hair stand on end. It seems that indignant ghosts lurk in the dark.

An expert test on a mattress and some sheets carried out by the fire services transports us to the hecatomb that must have been the fire inside the prison. The claustrophobic overcrowding of dozens of prisoners sharing a single room, separated into small groups by curtains made of blankets, bunks, and sheets looms the worst. The voracious fire licks over the bunks and in a few seconds, black smoke takes it all. For the first time, we glimpse the remains of the disaster, only the gnawed iron of the metal bunks remains. The rest is a sooty fireplace.


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Marc Molas Carolhttp://www.tostadero.es
Spanish editor at Modern Times Review, and Catalan music producer, based in Barcelona.

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