Movies »Harlan County USA

harlan county usaIf you think you have it rough with your job just watch Harlan County, USA and, trust me, you'll realize that you've never worked a hard day in your life. In 1972, coal miners in Kentucky, living in shanties without running water or plumbing, facing the possibility of deadly explosions, slow death from black lung, and a shocking lack of safety and benefits began a thirteen month, bitter and deadly strike. The daring documentarian Barbara Kopple and her crew suffered beatings and guns fired at them to capture the turmoil and drama.

You are unlikely to witness?areal life situation so wrought with tension, (even with the incredible Gimme Shelter and the less incredible house wives tables flipping out there). From murder within the union to murder on the picket lines, these hard working individuals are literally willing to die for their rights and, sadly, do. It's the women, the wives and daughters of the miners who are particularly resilient and fight the most visible battles against the gun wielding strike breakers and scabs.

With images that are both horrific and beautiful and a soundtrack of harrowing local blue grass, often sung by the people on screen, the academy award winning film is more than a political drama about unions, it's a piece of art that makes you question how far you could go and how much you could endure and fight if put in the same situation.

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Posted on June 29, 2009

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