Music From The Big House 2012 NR CC

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(12) IMDb 8.5/10
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In MUSIC FROM THE BIG HOUSE, Rita Chiarelli, Canada's Queen of the Blues, takes a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Blues: Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary, a.k.a Angola Prison - formerly the bloodiest prison in America.

Starring:
Rita Chiarelli
Runtime:
1 hour 28 minutes

Music From The Big House

Product Details

Genres Music, Musical, Documentary
Director Bruce McDonald
Starring Rita Chiarelli
Supporting actors Leah Lazonick
Studio Vivendi Entertainment
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
Would have liked more character development and music, but, overall, this is a great film.
melinda head
Rather, it explores how they deal with their sentences and their struggle to find a sense of value and peace within their circumstance.
Diabolicus
The music itself can be raw or energetic or soulful, but it always carries the story forward.
L. Beal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ReviwingPost on January 28, 2013
Format: DVD
Music from the Big House is a captivating and inspiring film. One woman takes a step inside one of America's bloodiest prisons to give the cellmates a chance to connect with music. It follows the journey of prisoner's past, and how even though they will be in prison for life, the ability to sing and play guitar helps them find the joy in life. Rita Chiarelli is the sign of hope and forgiveness. Her voice and heart reach out to the men who were never given a second chance. The movie shows what can be done with the power of music. The interviews and journey through the prison is very moving. All you need are the vocals of Chiarelli, and the prisoners to hook you for another viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By andy8193 on January 24, 2013
Format: DVD
In this uplifting and spiritual journey the audience is dropped right into the otherworldly, deep south culture of Angola Prison, otherwise known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary, and are introduced to it's humble, yet dangerous, inhabitants. At the same time they are introduced to the unbelievably talented and kindhearted Canadian blues singer Rita Chiarelli, who happens to be visiting Angola in an attempt to work with the prisoners on creating a musical act. The film avoids revealing the crimes committed by these prisoners, who are serving life sentences in a maximum security prison, so that the audience doesn't form a predetermined view of them. This allows the viewers to sympathize, favor, and even relate to the prisoners as the film advances and the story plays out. We quickly learn that many of the men have changed and become much more spiritual, and even religious due to their time serving. The message of the film greatly reflects this by noting the angst-ridden history of the blues genre as a whole and relating this to the dark pasts of the inmates; and then showing how this same music is what gives the inmates an outlet to express themselves in a deeply spiritual and healthy way. Overall, it's a great documentary that thoroughly explores a highly overlooked subject and shows that even in the darkest people in the darkest situations music can uplift one's spirit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Belle L. on January 23, 2013
Format: DVD
Music from the Big House is heartfelt and amazing. I was truly surprised by the quality of the music coming from inside the prison - they're really great! It was really interesting to hear their stories and their music. You could really feel the angst and sorrow from the prisoners. I will definitely watch this again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By krisgousse on January 23, 2013
Format: DVD
Music From the Big House was an incredibly touching film that shows us an aspect of the prison system that is usually overlooked, the talent of the individuals within the prison. All of the individual inmates who get interviewed in the film are very musically gifted. Showing us several different bands that formed within the prison, the final concert that Rita Chiarelli put on with them has varied musical types: Country, Blues, Jazz, and Gospel. Rita acts as a guiding force or narrator as we follow her specific journey into Angola prison. Her unique viewpoint on the prisoners' situation makes any viewer question what is really going on inside these prisons. She makes a great point in saying that "we" on the outside feel like we are unaffected by what goes on inside the prisons, but the pain of those individuals trickles down through their families and friends. But Rita also is sure to keep in mind that there are victims out there who are suffering the loss that these men now hold the guilt for. She feels a strange moral quandary when working with group, for she begins to love them, they are good people. From the viewers perspective we pick up on this as well. With many interview bits jumping in-between the musical numbers, we get to know each character, each person relatively well. The film does a good job of putting us into the shoes an perspective of the Angola prisoners and how they deal with "the knowledge that they are going to die in there." For many men, coming to prison was actually a saving grace that allowed them to leave their foolish youth behind and accept a more compassionate and loving lifestyle through the church.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Beal on January 23, 2013
Format: DVD
Music from the Big House is an amazing film. It has fantastic music, good storytelling, and interesting characters. This is not a film that beats you over the head with a message - it just tells a really good story. I was so impressed at the balanced approach that lets the audience explore the role of music from both sides of the bars. The music itself can be raw or energetic or soulful, but it always carries the story forward. It is music that plays with your mood because of its sheer power. Plus, watch the film with friends and you are guaranteed very interesting discussions!
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Format: DVD
This inspiring documentary really tells a story worth hearing. With the combination of beautiful cinematography, amazing people, and truly great music to top it off, this movie has a lot of heart and soul.
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