A Celebratory Concert
50 years after their original concert at the Folsom Prison, Los Tigres Del Norte return to deliver a heartwarming and poignant music documentary film, interspersed with prisoner stories full of regret at their journeys into prison. Los Tigres Del Norte is an enjoyable film though and while it may not have the lasting power other documentaries of its kind have, there’s enough here to make for an engrossing watch nonetheless.
After a brief introduction to the group and their clear musical influences from Johnny Cash, Los Tigres Del Norte essentially splits into two halves; the first a concert for the male prisoners and the second a separate concert for the female prisoners. Most of the documentary sees the band perform their songs, with shout outs to specific prisoners or even inviting one up on stage to play an instrument. It’s all pretty feel-good stuff and the interesting juxtaposition to the prisoner’s tragic backstories really puts into perspective how important the band’s music is to each of then.
Adding to this is an interesting segment that sees the prisoners meet the band after their concert, sharing more of their stories and thanking them for their music. These moments are interspersed through the film but it’s ultimately the prisoner’s stories that really hammer home the importance of music and rehabilitation for these men and women. There’s also some interesting ideas thrown around about the positivity of the prison system, making for a welcome change from the usual negativity that surrounds this.
The editing is pretty good, with some nice audio muffling to really accentuate the prisoner’s stories as they tell their tales in face to face interviews. There’s a good pacing to this film too and the change of scenery and setting midway through keeps things engaging and adds a different flavour to the film as we see the female perspective on their music and journey into prison.
Los Tigres Del Norte is a concert film first and a documentary second. While the content is engaging, with enough thought provoking ideas to keep things interesting, it’s ultimately the music that’ll make or break the experience for you. If you’re a fan of the band’s music or fancy something light and breezy, Los Tigres Del Norte is worth a watch and while it may not break new ground or deliver anything particularly profound, it’s good enough to make for an enjoyable watch nonetheless.