Friday, 1 June 2012

Kristen Stewart's mom brings 'K-11' to Cannes, updates exploitation prison flicks (Yahoo! Movies)

Kristen Stewart attracted a lot of headlines at Cannes due to her starring role in "On The Road." However, the "Twilight" star's mother, Jules Stewart, might be doing her best to at least steal a little bit of the attention. Mother Stewart (can we call her J-Stew?) made a film called "K-11" that just made its market debut at Cannes. The film is centered around an L.A. County jail that segregates gay and transgender inmates.

The subject sounds fascinating and would seemingly lend itself to a compelling, informative cinematic look, but the trailer really makes it look to be a bit of a sleazefest about a record producer who wakes up in the unit after a drug overdose. From the marketing, expect an exploitation or grindhouse-style movie, complete with wicked wardens and internal strife among the convicts.

If so, "K-11"will be a new spin on an old exploitation standard: the women in prison flick. Only in this case, the inmates are transgendered women instead. A subgenre that saw its 70s heyday on the grindhouse circuit, these films were often just as advertised: Women in prison were forced to eke out their survival. Pam Grier starred in several for famed B-movie director Jack Hill, titles including "The Big Doll House" and "The Big Bird Cage," before Grier took on her most famous roles in "Foxy Brown" and "Coffy."

There were some offshoots of the "women in prison" subgenre, such as the "Ilsa" series, centered around a Nazi prison camp warden who ruled her prison with an iron fist. The series ended up comprising definitive examples of "Nazisploitation" films.

And now the genre looks to be back, thanks to Kristen Stewart's mom of all people. Given that the grindhouse trend made a brief resurgence in pop culture a few years ago via Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, it makes sense that we'd get an update on the old prison standard. "K-11" is at least being sold that way, but we'll know more when the film is picked up for distribution and released.

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