This total immersion results in a riveting and intense documentary -- as informative as it is deeply moving. The climactic confrontation with the scabs is carefully set up by a scene the night before in which it is planned. The coal miner will always be a fighter. The documentary is distinctive because instead of narration, the story is told with the words of those experiencing the situation. What visual beauty the film does have comes almost by accident, from the blue-gray early morning mist that shrouds the pickets gathered by the roadside to block scabs imported by the company to break the strike. Eincher will star in the movie and co-write the screenplay with Stoller, who will direct. More important, union officials didn't give a damn about the rank and file.
The people had to line their walls with mattresses. Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning documentary classic is an electrifying look at a tense, year-long standoff between striking Kentucky coal miners and the union-busting corporation determined to squash them. After Judge Hogg limited the number of pickets, the women poured out onto the roads to block the scabs. The film comes to a couple of false endings, which nicely suggest the sense of never-ending struggle. A doctor holds up a blackened lung, removed from a miner; it crumbles between his fingers like ash. If they do, it will probably be in the mines, where they will die young—most likely of black lung disease. Until the strike began, the miners belonged to a company union, the Southern Labor Union, whose members were drawn from mines throughout Eastern Kentucky.
The film focuses on the women. Throughout the filming of Harlan County, U. Miller is initially presented in a favorable light. The film captures the dire poverty of the miners and their families, and their bitter and violent struggles against both Eastover and union-busting scabs and thugs. Strikers are shown being arrested and roughly taken away by police. It is the following morning, out on the road, men and women fully armed, tensely awaiting the scabs.
We see them facing down the state troopers, forcing the sheriff to arrest the mine foreman, dealing with their own flagging spirits, and gearing up for yet one more confrontation. What were the possible social and economic factors that compelled the miners to continue working for the company before finally staging a strike? After living among the local residents and getting to know them, Kopple eventually overcame their suspicions and began to chronicle the miners' struggle to join a union - the United Mine Workers - against the, often violent, resistance of the Duke Power Co. The miners were also concerned that if they accepted the provision it would limit their ability to influence local work conditions. What factors could have caused the company to exploit the miners the way they did? The violence escalates, the frustration, the anger. The strikers picketed at the New York stock exchange and there are also filmed interviews with the people who were affected by black lung disease.
I think I was maybe more engaged in the struggle and using the film as a vehicle to get through it. But its attack lacks the clear focus that distinguishes the earlier parts of the film, those which lend themselves to uncomplicated judgments. Associate Tony Boyle goes from good health to being sickly and frail in a wheelchair. I learned what life-and-death was all about. Seeing that the miners are seemingly eager to find work, the company willingly exploited them by providing them with dangerous working conditions and low wages. But its faults are the consequence of its virtues: an energy, immediacy, and passion rarely seen in a U. The strikers send a contingent to Wall Street to picket a stockholders meeting.
Thirty years after the release of this documentary, five miners died in an explosion at Harlan County. It can also be said that the documentary had a more human side to it, as director Kopple took various risks by attending the actual strikes and pickets and also interviewing the members of the miners and their families. Byrd Hogg limits the number of pickets to six, three at each entrance to the mine. The strike, which lasts more than a year, frequently becomes violent, with guns produced on both sides. This technique of slow disclosure is used so much that it must be intentional. However, in a way, the miners felt that the clause in the contract initially meant that their place in the company is secure and there will never be any need for them to stage a strike.
Why it has won is not so clear. I think for me the struggle was to keep going from day to day, to stay alive, to keep raising the money and that was it. The film has its faults. You'd think things would have been largely improved since then, but that's not really the case. Maybe the Whitney Museum will show it. Its population, now 40,000, has declined by 36 percent since 1960.
Which side are you on? Himself - former Bureau of Mines director. We don't know where we are. He'd worked seventy-eight hours straight the preceding week. Apatow will produce the film about two men with commitment problems attempting a relationship. Another shot shows disgruntled miners making a bonfire out of copies of the agreement. If a man was injured, it took an hour or more to carry him out on the back of a man doubled up in a crouch under the roof of the mine, which was four feet, high.