a film by Thomas Heise


Germany | 2014 | 83:00 min

Formal Categories

Human Interest Human Rights

Content Categories

The beginning shows a dusty landscape somewhere on the outskirts of the city accompanied by a poem from 1921, written by Bertold Brecht and spoken by a young woman. It is about the disappearence of a man, how waiting for him fades and eventually the memory there of.
'Städtebewohner' tells the story of everyday life in the „Comunidad San Fernando“, a prison in Mexico City. About 200 prisoners are currently living here, offenders who were sentenced as juveniles for a maximum of 5 years to San Fernando in order to leave it as men not older than in the age of 23. In quiet observations the film portrays the life of the residents of San Fernando.
It is December. We get to know 3 of those 200 better. There are Samuel and Ever, still children when they were judged guilty of murder. "It's complicated but I didn't do it" says Samuel. "Now I'm in here." "I shot him in the head", Ever says, and what does his glance say when adding "I was 14". And there is Irving, who was a robber and fears the outside, his liberty, when spring will come. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve his father explains him where to aim accurately in order to best shoot someone dead. Life is selfexplanatory. People act just as they are pleased to do.  Encountering people around here is a constant jittering change between closeness and distance, as is the city where the prison is located. Encountering someone around here is a constant and edgy changing between closeness and distance. As is the city where the prison is at. Who is talking of stones?
Prix of the DEFA - Stiftung 2014
ARTE Documentary Award 2014
Cast and Crew
  • Director Thomas Heise
  • Director of Photography Robert Nickolaus
  • Editor Mike Gürgen
  • Score Bowen Liu
Original Languages



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