Andrej (Matej Zemljič) and his parents are in a Slovenian court: he is 18, refusing to go to school or work, and found guilty of assaulting a young woman at a party. Sentenced to live weekdays at a youth detention centre, Andrej is tested by and then links up with inmate leader Željko (Timon Šturbej). This leads Andrej to jointly bully other inmates at Željko’s instigation and become his enforcer of ‘debts’ (i.e. extortion).
Unlike imprisonment in the UK, the young men in this detention centre are allowed mobile phones and a degree of freedom to move around. But there is weak discipline and little protection for the vulnerable, which translates into an oppressive situation for most inmates. Those running this youth prison fail dismally in their duty of care to inmates.
Fascinating exposition of some of the pitfalls in even the most ‘open’ of prison regimes if adequate measures of safeguarding are not in place. Of course such matters are seldom discussed in the UK widely, given that few have accepted the principle (or even grasped the idea) that those sent to prison are sent there as punishment, not for punishment.
Željko exploits the fact that Andrej is gay when he discovers it and they have sex, only to have covertly videoed their liaison. When Andrej’s mother sees it on Facebook, she tells him never to come home. Andrej finds Željko and does him over with his own knuckleduster. A transfer to an adult prison looks to be on the cards.
This is director Darko Štante’s first full length feature and his experience as a teacher in a youth correctional facility is evident through the reality of the interactions he produces in his actors. As he says, ‘It has always felt natural for me to translate my experiences into a story for the film medium.’ And so it has proved.
Consequences is screened at the BFI London Film Festival on 17 & 18 October 2018.