Past screening

Harlan County USA

Directed by: Barbara Kopple
Runtime: 1hr 43min Year: 1976
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Directed by: Barbara Kopple
Runtime: 1hr 43min Year: 1976
Country: United States
Last Screened: Sun 30th Sep 2018

Barbara Kopple's Academy Award-winning Harlan County, U.S.A unflinchingly documents a gruelling coal miners' strike in smalltown Kentucky.

“A fascinating and moving work. Its strength lies chiefly in its ability to illuminate the peculiar frightfulness and valour of coal-mining, and made it clear just why coal-miners can never be rightly treated as a less than a very special case.” – The New York Times

This film offers an unflinching insight into a gruelling coal miners’ strike in a small Kentucky town during 1976. With unprecedented access, director Barbara Kopple and her crew capture the miners’ sometimes violent struggles with strike-breakers, local police and company thugs.

This formative film is a striking example of direct cinema at its best. Purely observational in form, with no commentary or reconstruction, Harlan County USA remains as significant to today’s struggle for workers’ rights in the USA. Despite having so little budget that the production team had to blag rolls of film, the documentary went on to win an Oscar in 1976 and continues to inspire independent documentary filmmakers today.