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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Film review: Ne Me Liberez Pas, Je m'en Charge (My Greatest Escape)

Fabienne Godet / France

Michel Vaujour spent 27 years in a French prison and 17 of them in solitary confinement. In Godet’s documentary Vaujour describes what he learned by explaining all his escapades as well as his education inside the prison. “Seventeen years in a concrete box and it took me sixteen years to get used to it. I learned about things by not having them. “He constantly speaks through his senses and how they develop around this emptiness and space. You could really imagine what a caged tiger might think while pacing inside the cell. Vaujour believes the word “prison” means escape and he became notorious for his creative and effective plans of escape. In one of his first attempts he made a gun out of soap, which looked so real that the guards did not even try to stop him.

The most famous escape was when he escaped from the Paris prison, which is located in the middle of the city; his wife flew and landed the helicopter on the rooftop. Every second was planed perfectly which was his signature in all these escapes. He said that in prison you have a lot of time to think and a lot of time to watch every single movement of the guards. When finally he had a chance for release, he had to fight this automatic impulse of wanting to escape. It was the fine-tuning of the brain to change that impulse. For him, prison was like a university and he learned an amazing amount about being a criminal. He went from small town theft to organized crime. He said it was exhilarating to be a criminal. Only now that he is free does he realize the time he lost in life. I was quite surprised that he was married twice despite the fact he seemed always to be in prison.

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