Babies Behind Bars

Year: 2007
Duration: 24' 50"

Babies Behind Bars screens poignant stories of children kept in the care of their inmate mothers in a female prison in Rome. Forced to spend the first years of their lives behind prison bars, babies are separated from their imprisoned mothers soon after their 3rd birthday. To lift the children's spirits, a generous group of volunteers takes the babies out of prison every weekend to expose them to positive entertainment and educational activities. Filmed by a self-shooting director, the film portraits children’s desire for freedom while depicting their vital need for motherly love.

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Photo Credit: Riccardo Venturi



An intelligent and challenging film. The Director Valentina Ippolito achieves an impressive rapport with the women prisoners. It was refreshing to see a film attempt to capture the P.O.V of the criminals rather than the figures of authority. The conventional editorial slant is turned on its head. I was left feeling that the system is flawed and the lives and conditions the gypsies face when they leave prison continue to trap them in an endless cycle of poverty and further petty crime. A depressing but powerful film.

[Victoria Mapplebeck]

Director of Documentary Films and Course Director of MA Documentary By Practice
(Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway University)