Kevin is a new arrival in an overcrowded youth prison, forced to share a cell with three other inmates. He witnesses the violent culture of the institution and struggles to fit in. Beginning to realise that there are only two types of people confined within these walls - aggressors and victims - Kevin finds himself needing to decide which one he is.
Taking its title from the slang name given to new inmates, which singles them out as a target for bullying, the debut feature from former film critic Philip Koch is uncompromising, brutal and significant. Based on an actual case where three inmates tortured and goaded another to commit suicide, it seeks to illustrate how such institutions create an environment where such horrific incidents happen. Researched in journalistic detail and shot in a real prison, which had been closed down in the year before shooting, Picco is strikingly authentic.
The audience are bought close to being implicated as onlooking inmates themselves by the fluid way in which it is filmed and, while the climax to the film is undoubtedly harrowing, the scenes in the build-up that illustrate the casually dehumanising aspects of prison life are as valid and, in many ways, as shocking.
BFI London Film Festival
Philip Koch will attend the screening.
Presented in cooperation with the Goethe-institut Irland