“Harlan County, U.S.A.,” which won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 1976, will be celebrated with select city screenings of a newly restored and remastered print this fall. Detailing the brutal strike at the Brookside mines in Harlan, Kentucky in the early 1970s, “Harlan County, U.S.A.” premiered to wide acclaim at the New York Film Festival in 1976. In 1990, the documentary was chosen by The Library of Congress to be entered into the National Film Registry as a culturally significant work.
Harlan County, U.S.A. will begin screening at Cinema Village (22 East 12th St.) on Friday, October 14th.
In “Harlan County, U.S.A.,” filmmaker Barbara Kopple brilliantly documented the Brookside miners and the women who fought with them when, after voting to join the United Mine Workers union, The Duke Power Company refused to sign the union’s contract. Living in Harlan for the duration of the strike, Kopple and her crew, with unprecedented access, captured the miner’s violent and angry struggle with strikebreakers, local police, and company thugs. With a haunting soundtrack featuring legendary country and bluegrass artists Hazel Dickens, Merle Travis, Sarah Gunning and Florence Reese among others, “Harlan County, U.S.A.” is a powerful, sometimes heartbreaking record of the thirteen-month struggle between a community fighting to survive and a corporation dedicated to the bottom line.
“Harlan County USA” was the first major work by one of America’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers. Barbara Kopple’s numerous nonfiction films include Academy Award winner “American Dream; Wild Man Blues,” which follows filmmaker Woody Allen and his jazz band on a tour through Europe; My Generation, which compares and contrasts the three Woodstock Fesivals; Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson; and A Conversation with Gregory Peck, a feature-length portrait of the legendary actor. In addition to her documentary work, Kopple has had success directing feature films, episodic television and commercials. She has been awarded the New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award, Human Rights Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Award, National Society of Film Critics Award and the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, among other accolades.