Astounding BFI footage set to a desolate landscape of a score... A resurrection of archival ghosts from a past loaded w/ political & social significance. Like a hypnotist's attempt to awaken our latent class consciousness via the story of this industry, this prototypical symbol of labour under capitalism, from its industrial phase through its hatching into neoliberalism under Thatcher's reptilian care. Well done. 3.5
Comme à son habitude, le réalisateur agence du matériel cinématographique datant souvent d'une lointaine période, d'un passé oublié, cette fois sur les fameuses gueules noires de l'Angleterre industrielle, avec un indéniable sens de l'image et du montage... www.cinefiches.com
I think the cinematography throughout the film is beautiful, but I still fail relating to it. Probably because I'm too distant (both in time and feeling) from what the folks there went through. It'd possibly have been more meaningful if I was somehow connected to the events - but the movie failed to connect me. Jóhann Jóhannsson's soundtrack, though, is a gem. I will experience it again. But not the movie.
I am ambivalent about most of Morrison's films, but this one had me transfixed. There are a few mismatches between musical crescendos and image, and occasionally editing is a bit misplaced, but on the whole this is a compelling visual story of a particularly optimistic and destructive time in human history. The sad truth is that it looks all too familiar. The false hopes of yesteryear resemble those of today.
Jóhann Jóhannsson's score, majestically melancholy, earthy and ethereal, really cuts into the core conflict of Morrison's message: a forgotten community that never got the necessary respect. The menace in the vintage underground mine shaft footage doesn't even require the score to get you to care.
I have enjoyed Jóhann Jóhannsson ever since Virðulegu Forsetar was released on the Touch label in 2004. The music here is just as good. The film opens in color and then switches to black & white. At first you think it is an old photo but then realize there is movement in the crowd. The footage inside the mines reminded me at times of Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker.
From the opening sequence of the film, it sets the wrong tone to draw me in as the viewer. It would be a beautiful panning shot of a landscape. But between the music playing and the grave delivery of the lifespans of the mines make it unappealing to watch. Without inviting the reader, the film forces the notion that there is a travesty that occurred here. The film takes away the viewer coming to this conclusion tho.
This was quite moving. Really gorgeous photography throughout. Paired with a wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack from Johannson, alternating between stately and elegaic to majestic and stirring. This has been one of my favorite discoveries on Mubi. I'm planning to track down a DVD or blu-ray of this if I can. Absolutely loved it.
Even without the music there is a funeral quality to the film. Footage of men marching into the depths of the anthracite hell out of which they earn their daily bread. Digging, always digging, digging their own graves. And of course when they demand better the jackboot of authority comes crushing down on them "You are good enough to dig for us but not good enough to live like us". An elegiac testament.
Como todo himno, Morrison mediante sus fuentes de metrajes encontrados, recrea una estructura que mitifica al minero de oficio. El filme así parece dividirse en parte: la llegada a la fábrica, el trabajo sufrido, la rutina (los suburbios mineros) y luego viene el himno, es la celebración, una que por cierto cuenta con un plano final en una iglesia. Lo mineros como una comunidad protegida, organizada y política.
Director Bill Morrison juxtaposes the modern British landscape with archival footage of the mining towns they once were in this poetic elegy for a faded way of life. A beautiful and lyrical marriage of image and music that creates a haunting portrait of the fleeting nature of time, and the struggle to be remembered.