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P4W: Prison for Women (part of the series Key Canadian Works by Women)

1981, 2007
href="">Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, 401 Richmond St. W., Suite 119, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3A8; 416-588-0725
Produced by Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
Directed by Janis Cole & Holly Dale
DVD, color, 84 min.
Womenís Studies, Film Studies

Reviewed by Rue McKenzie, University of South Florida, Tampa

Date Entered: 1/12/2010

P4W is a frank look at life in a Canadian womenís prison. The filmmakers were obviously able to gain a tremendous amount of trust from the inmates they focused upon. The matter of fact narration of the women in recounting their stories is quite arresting (pardon the pun). The overall result is an insiderís look at the complicated relationships and self-awareness that developed between some of the women.

The quality of the film is quite good. The visual and aural qualities allow the viewer to become close to the women as they are being both interviewed and interacting with one another.

While I recommend this film as a standalone program, it could also be valuable to college level art history and womenís studies courses as part of the larger series Key Canadian Works by Women in surveying experimental film by women. This film, along with the others from this series, is accompanied by an excellent study guide.