Herman's House (2013)
The injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art are explored in a new feature documentary from first-time director Angad Singh Bhalla. Herman's House follows the unlikely friendship between visual artist Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace, one of America's most famous inmates, as they collaborate on an unprecedented - and widely acclaimed - art installation. (c) First Run
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Critic Reviews for Herman's House
A very poignant doc that celebrates the genuine virtues of compassion, friendship.
Reminiscent in some ways of the Damien Nichols story but more about a father-daughter relationship. It also shows what a gifted conceptual artist can do, making the Whitney Biennial look like a bit of a joke.
Bhalla builds a damning picture of what's happening to Wallace. But he avoids pure rant ...
Although this documentary has a powerful political subtext, it is best described as a conceptual art piece about confinement, attached to a dual biography of the artist and the prisoner.
The contrasting demeanors of its two main characters give Herman's House its spark, but the movie has some pungent moments without them.
A compelling and enlightening documentary about the important role creativity can play in the pursuit of justice and the spread of compassion.
This moving but sketchy documentary fails to explore its provocative issues in fully satisfying fashion.
It's an absorbing, prickly tale, which Bhalla doesn't tell as coherently as he could have-oddly fitting, considering this is a story about frustrated ambitions and unfulfilled potential.
Against the prospect of unhappy endings, the human spirit still strives.
An involving documentary that doesn't offer a convincing argument against solitary confinement for those who may not fully realize what's objectionable about it.
Herman's House shows off the talents of several young principal crew members, and that of the director who makes his documentary feature debut, but it lacks the gravitas of human-rights filmmaking.
A fascinating biopic as much about a possible miscarriage of justice as about a case of arrested development who looks like a little girl playing house with an imaginary mate.
Herman's House is conventionally produced, but it does right by its two uncommon subjects.
Wallace is heard but not seen in the film, a decision by Toronto director Angad Singh Bhalla that serves art more than it does the story.
What drives the film is artist Jackie Sumell's relationship with [Angola 3 member Herman] Wallace.
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