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Woodpeckers (Carpinteros)

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Arizona

Official Academy Award submission from the Dominican Republic!
Sent to Santo Domingo’s notorious Najayo prison for petty theft, wily and intelligent Julián (Jean Jean) quickly acclimates himself to his brutal new surroundings, using the prison’s hidden economies to his advantage while desperately trying to hold on to his humanity.
When psychotic Manaury (Ramon Emilio Candelario) is sent to solitary, he enlists Julian to take over “woodpecking” – a unique sign language used by male prisoners to communicate with female inmates in the adjacent penitentiary just over 400 feet away – with his girlfriend, the tough-as-nails Yanelly (Judith Rodriguez). As Julian and Yanelly’s communication grows into something deeper, Manaury’s suspicions drive him over the edge, lighting the fuse that will lead the trio into an unexpected life-or-death confrontation. Shot on location at the actual prison using real inmates for all but the lead roles, Woodpeckers is a knockout fusion of tender love story and gritty realist drama from one of the Dominican Republic’s most exciting young filmmakers, José María Cabral. (Dir. by Jose Maria Cabral, 2017, Dominican Republic, in Spanish with English subtitles, 106 mins., Not Rated)

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