DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


May 29 2008

DVD Review: Harlan County, USA

by Jimmy L

The best documentaries, to me, are the ones that make you feel like you are actually there, going through the experience, meeting the people, and forming a relationship to them and the subject at hand.  Afterwards, you feel like you have lived it.  I recently watched the documentary Harlan County, USA which fulfilled every one of these expectations and more.  The Academy Award winning movie is about the coal miners of Harlan County, Kentucky, who went on strike for 13 months against the Duke Power Company.

Throughout the movie, director Barbara Kopple and her crew lived with, worked with, and fought alongside the coal miners and captured some amazing footage.  I never knew about the incredible injustices of the coal miner’s lives—the low wages, the cold, cramped spaces they worked in, and the lack of safety precautions in the caves.  I also knew only the bare minimum of what it meant to be “on strike”.  I didn’t know it could be so hard, so draining, and so violent.  The determination and will of these miners and their determination to fight to be treated humanely really moved me. 

I recommend this movie wholeheartedly.  The library has three copies, so watch it as soon as you’re done watching this preview:

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