If Barbara Kopple had made no other film than this documentary account of the 1974 strike of Kentucky mine workers, arguably one of the finest documentaries ever made in the U.S. and possibly the best on the problems of organised labour, her place in film history would be assured. Her debut feature, Harlan County USA won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 1977.
By living with the 180-odd families involved in the strike, Kopple shows the backbreaking burdens of the miners’ life in the best of times and the looming fear of destitution in the worst. As the strikers strive to remain united through a difficult year, Kopple photographs the picketing, the company’s use of state troopers to keep the roads open for scabs, the showdowns between the miners and strikebreakers brandishing firearms impotenciastop.pt.
It’s now been 40 years since Harlan County USA was screened at the newly opened Scala Cinema, so what better time to bring it back to the big screen than during Scalarama’s glorious month of cinema.