Michel Kapteijns / Netherlands / 2010 / 74 min.
With its woods, sunshine and clear water, who would think the idyllic island of Bastoy, south of the Norwegian capital Oslo, was a prison? But a prison it is; one where over 100 men convicted of drug, sexual, violent and property crimes serve the remainders of their sentences. There are no cells, cameras or fences on Bastoy. Inmates work in the woods, on construction, or with livestock, spending the evenings going on walks or playing cards in the homes they look after together. That relative freedom can, paradoxically, be a source of aggravation. One former drug dealer tells the camera that when you are in a cell, all you think about is getting out; you don't have to think about anything beyond yourself, or make any decisions. Through intimate and sensitive interviews, the director acquaints us with the island's prisoners, their thoughts about their past crimes, and their plans for the future. Beautiful and patient shots lead the viewer to question what is most effective in "improving" prisoners: classic repressive punishment, or the necessity of taking responsibility for oneself, as is the case on Bastoy.