30

wednesday

Long a staple of exploitation cinema, the babes-behind-bars movie seems more likely to attract Tarantino wannabes than serious-minded filmmakers. But director Cheryl Dunye’s Stranger Inside, despite some lurid moments and a B-movie final twist, is sufficiently earnest to explain why Michael Stipe signed on as a producer. The story concerns an unorthodox (and ill-advised) family reunion: Young troublemaker Treasure gets herself transferred from a youth facility to the state prison so she can introduce herself to the mother she never knew. Brownie is a lifer, and deservedly so, yet Treasure is happy to be accepted by her, even if that means getting involved in drug-dealing and enforcement duties. Most of the gamier motifs of the women’s-prison genre are included here, but they’re certainly not glamorized: No one who watches this cautionary flick will want to follow Treasure to the big house. The film shows at 7 p.m. at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. $5. (202) 783-7370. (Mark Jenkins)