Ellen Vermeulen

Belgium 2014, 70 min.


Spoken language: Dutch

Subtitles: English

Poignant and topical documentary about the fallacious Belgian policy to detain criminals suffering from mental health problems in prison cells without providing for psychological assistance or care. The date of release mentioned on their files is 31/12/9999.


While Belgian law states that criminals suffering from mental conditions cannot be held responsible for their acts, they are locked up and isolated. The system does not provide for psychological aid, so the criminals spend their days in small cells, without care and with no prospect of change. For some, this means they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars, regardless of the nature of their offence, and to be continuously confronted with themselves, their acts and their disease. 

Poignant 9999 tells the story of Joris, Ludo, Wilfried, Steven and Salem, five men that spend their days in what one of them aptly calls ‘Belgium’s cesspool’. The Belgian government has on several occasions been sanctioned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for ‘maltreating’ prisoners with psychiatric disorders.


Official website: http://www.9999themovie.com


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