La Taule (1999)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Prison Film  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

This French prison drama focuses on a penitentiary inmate known as the Mute (Olivier Martinez), who either cannot or will not speak, even though he can apparently hear well enough. When the Mute's cellmate escapes, both the Warden (Bernard Le Coq) and the Chief Guard (Claude Brasseur) try to get him to tell what he knows about the disappearance -- the Guard through violence, the Warden by transferring him to a new cell with four other prisoners and cutting off TV privileges to the inmates until the Mute spills the beans. One of the Mute's new roommates is a white collar criminal (Said Taghmaoui) who has just landed in prison and is not dealing well with the pressures of life behind bars, but his skills with computers make him a very usefully ally among the prisoners. Meanwhile, Flic (Gilbert Melki), a self-important police detective, is investigating the escape of the Mute's cellmate and is not happy with the low level of cooperation among the prison's population. La Taule received its North American premiere at Montreal's World Film Festival in 1999.