The damned of the earth

Rivo Andriakoto
Belgium, France 1999 | 75 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU

Off the coast of Mada­gas­car, the Nosy-Lava Island prison which was built in 1911 still func­tions as an archa­ic pen­i­ten­tiary. The model system from the French colo­nial period has been con­tin­ued by the Mada­gas­can state despite the fact that inde­pen­dence came in 1960. It is in this prison that the last remain­ing inmates, some of whom were sen­tenced by the French author­i­ties in 1960, live out their lives total­ly for­got­ten and with no hope for the future. Some of the con­victs even com­plet­ed their prison sen­tence a long time ago. The repres­sive system at Nosy-Lava means that they will be kept there as impris­oned con­victs in a state of semi-free­dom. All their efforts go towards find­ing a job so they can eat their fill, as the author­i­ties do not supply them with food. Some are fed and helped by the island’s inhab­i­tants who have accept­ed them as part of the community.