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11-14-2012, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by kihei View Post
That's an excellent review. It made me really want to see the documentary, which sounds like it has a fascinating and gripping tale to tell. Very nicely done.

Do you think it might make an interesting companion piece with Herzog's Into the Abyss? Or perhaps with The Thin Blue Line?
Thank you for the kind words kihei. The film is being screened as part of Cinema Politica. I might just go see it again on Friday since the director will be in attendance. I don't know if it's being show in Toronto though.

Now I haven't seen the above-mentioned films, but I've definitely read a great deal about them.

I'd argue that Herman's House is less of a criticism of the American justice system compared to Herzog and Morris' docs. I'd even argue that Angad Bhalla's objective wasn't really to prove Wallace's innocence.

What is made obvious, however, is that an individual who has been a model prisoner for over 40 years should not be under solitary confinement. The phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" is used a few times to describe his treatment.

Herman really is the "star" of this documentary though. He's incredibly well-spoken and very humourous, like a wise, ol' grand-father. But I couldn't help but wonder, what if he did take part in a murder in 1972? That question definitely lingers in the back of the viewer's mind. Is it possible for a man to commit such a heinous crime and still be this likeable? Because that definitely stirs up an array of conflicting emotions. And I know this sounds like a morbid thing to say (because we're dealing with real people after all), but this film would be even more fascinating if Wallace was actually guilty.

Also, what that the review doesn't mention (due to word limit) is the story of a poor, young man named Michael Musser, who was sentenced to 12 years in Angola prison at the age of 15 (a tough prosecutor made sure he didn't simply end up in "juvie.")

Michael spent seven of those years in solitary confinement, next to Herman's cell. The latter basically taught him how to read, write, let go of all that anger, and develop a sense of compassion. Musser's mother had a great line about her son's rehabilitation: "If [Herman] can do that in there, what can he do out here?"

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