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14 November 2018

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The Mark of Cain

by filmmaker Alix Lambert

The Mark of Cain is the macro lens. On the surface, this incredible documentary by Alix Lambert is an excruciatingly tight close-up of tattoos and their role in Russia’s criminal world. Yet it turns out this is only a device to look at larger issues, at the role of prisons and crime in Russia. Amazingly, Lambert and her film crew gained access to Russian prisons and – even more remarkably – got prisoners to talk openly about their lives (and tattoos). As a result, this is one of the most important documentaries on Russia to emerge in the last 15 years. Honest, revealing, heart-breaking, it is a superb work of journalism.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Nov/Dec 2007