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Music From The Big House 2012

NR CC
4.5 out of 5 stars (15) IMDb 8.7/10

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

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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
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love polished, acoustic blues. This is not a story/concert like that. Some of the men are good and talented and some are...less. But these are men living how they can, using blues/gospel/r&r, to get through each day. It is a very powerful and moving view into the lives of men who made horrible choices and now pay the tragic consequences. Musically it is good, but primitive. The people are compelling. Forces you to realize that those who commit our worse crimes are still people, fathers,brothers, husbands,friends.
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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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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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Format: DVD
A real abomination. The concept is terrific: capture on film the convicts (some of them lifers; most of them black) of a Southern prison as they transcend their circumstance through the power of song. Unfortunately what we're served here is a patronizing exploitation of those prisoner by by an obnoxious Canadian who bills herself as "Canada's Goddess of the Blues." Yeah, right. So much for the black guys who have something to sing about. This is HER movie about HER songs and HER sympathies for the poor fellas doing time who have been conned (sorry) into trying to make her look and sound good. They don't. So much potential sabotaged by the ego trip of someone who, frankly, should go back to the beer bar circuit where she belongs.
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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
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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