The Mark of Caïn

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Sailing ships, stars, angels and executioners — The Mark of Cain chronicles the vanishing practice and language of Russian Criminal Tattoos. Captured in some of Russia’s most notorious prisons, including the fabled White Swan, the film traces the animus of the flowers of this carnal art by way of the brutality of its origins- the penitentiary and the criminal environment. Incisive interviews with prisoners, guards, and criminologists reveal the secret language of The Zone and The Code of Thieves of the vory v zakone. As early as the 1920′s, Russian prisons and Gulag began to attract the attention of researchers. The prisoners of the Stalinist Gulag, or “Zone,” as it is called, developed a complex social structure that incorporated highly symbolic tattooing as a mark of rank. The very existence of these inmates at prisons and forced labor camps was treated by the state as a deep secret, and their tattoo art was considered a forbidden topic.

The Mark of Caïn, 9.1 out of 10 based on 44 ratings

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  • rubyru

    not really anything about tattoos…more about how crappy prison is :/ wasnt impressed

  • rubyru

    not really anything about tattoos…more about how crappy prison is :/ wasnt impressed

    • Intelligent person

      What are you talking about? There was lots and lots of mention of tattoos. All the guys explaining what it means and how its a hierachy among prisoners. Your an idiot. Pfft!

    • Intelligent person

      What are you talking about? There was lots and lots of mention of tattoos. All the guys explaining what it means and how its a hierachy among prisoners. Your an idiot. Pfft!

    • Intelligent person

      What are you talking about? There was lots and lots of mention of tattoos. All the guys explaining what it means and how its a hierachy among prisoners. Your an idiot. Pfft!

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    There is so many dirty people in prison :D

    Don’t you think?
    :D :D :D

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  • Shivonne Sampson

    It’s like they became immune to the pain. Physically and emotionally. Incredible.

  • Ed Moore

    Prisons shouldn’t exist. A huge number of them will never rehabilitate, something more drastic should be done…

  • Good

    very interesting, the conditions are horrific. very interesting about tattoos though.

  • Laura

    Very interesting .Atleast these prisoners can smoke or keep cats! Obviously there’s no dental care!

  • Johnny

    Anyone who knows the name of the intro-song?