Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1996
Country: United States
Run Time: 90 minutes

"If you would peruse the history of a community, look not in the church registry - but under the whitewash on the walls of the jail" - William Faulkner. To call Jim Chambers' documentary on prison conditions in the Deep South a mere expose would be a criminal simplification. Chambers' first-person narrative centers on an investigation into one of the many suspicious jailhouse 'suicides' among Mississippi's poor white and black convicts. But the filmmaker's quest through Blues Country is also an ode to a much-misunderstood region, impoverished and long-tainted by media stereotypes of outrageous racism and inbred ignorance. True, Chambers finds fear, intolerance, and dark rumorss of secret burials in the peach orchards. But he also sympathizes with an insular, rural culture plagued by gangs and drugs imported from the big cities. From the paroled renegade whose pit bull savages the film crew, to the rebirth of hope in a marriage ceremony, the genuine mondo Mississippi will haunt you longer than Hollywood's ghosts and burnings. - Charles Cassady

Jim Chambers, Nancy Baker

Jim Chambers

Jim Chambers, Hal Hisey

Douglas Cooper, Tom Sigal

Nancy Baker, Paula Heredia

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