I have remarked before that 12 Years a Slave is one of the best movies that I have seen in awhile. It is not only expertly crafted and conveys its central story with incredible emotional impact, but it also has lots of ideas and themes permeating its margins. There is a scene in the movie that is of true power where the slaves on the plantation sing Roll Jordan Roll. This comes at a particularly harrowing point in the movie. In this scene, especially in the context of the movie, one is made to feel how music allows one to transcend suffering to a degree. It does not negate suffering, but simply allows one to carry on in the face of it. Music is not only a source of joy, but also, like all good art should do, allows one to spiritually transcend the human mud of life. It can allow one to exorcise those emotions that would otherwise tear them apart from the inside.