mercoledì 5 giugno 2013

Matewan - John Sayles

un film epico, di minatori e padroni (quando il padrone era padrone...); mi ha ricordato "I compagni", di Mario Monicelli.
gli attori sono bravissimi, guidati alla perfezione da John Sayles (che interpreta il predicatore).
peccato che il nome di John Sayles lo conoscano pochi e ancora meno abbiano visto i suoi film.
si può sempre recuperare, magari iniziando da questo capolavoro, nessuno se ne pentirà - Ismaele

Matewan (1987) rievoca un massacro realmente avvenuto durante l'era dei primi scioperi organizzati. Sayles impiega modi e stili del western. Il film, benche' girato con mezzi modici, ha il feeling delle grandi epiche di Hollywood. Filmato in bianco e nero e in un blu grigio, condotto a passo lento, inquadrato in primo piano, il film ha spesso l'aspetto di un documentario, di un reportage. L'influenza di Ejzenstein è fortissima. Ma anche quella della Bibbia...

One of the best films of the 1980s, John Sayles's evocative "Matewan" takes us back to the 1920s, and the primitive, perilous lives of coal miners in West Virginia. Flavorful, meticulous recreation of time and place is enhanced by powerful performances, particularly from Cooper and a majestic James Earl Jones playing a miner called "Few Clothes" Johnson. With legendary lenser Haskell Wexler providing sumptuous visuals, and a cathartic climax involving the bloody, historic shootout that put Matewan on the map, this may well be Sayles's finest hour.

The cinematography in the movie is beautiful. The film has a grainy quality which mixes perfectly with the sepia tones, giving me the same feeling I get when browsing through an old family album. Lighting scenes of the mines are handled quite well, with workers back in the darkness and walking into the light only to see how dark their faces still truly are after a day amidst the coal dust. ..

The union leader Joe Kenehan, played by Chris Cooper, says that he didn't go off to the war because all he could see in it was "workers fighting workers". Even today that's an extremely controversial idea, and not one that you can try to apply to the so-called "good wars" without being laughed at, unless you work it into a nice little film like this.

The violent intimidation tactics of thugs hired by the company only firms the workers’ resolve to fight against those who use people until they wear down, break down, or are as dead as doornails. Sixteen-year-old Danny (Will Oldham), a lay preacher and ardent union member, has his ideals and faith tested. His mother (Mary McDonnell) reaches inside herself for courage in a moment of terrible danger. The town’s sheriff (David Strathairn) stands tall, and the mayor of the town (Josh Mostel) refuses to sell his people down the river for money. Virtue roars like a lion in Matewanas ordinary citizens achieve heroic stature. This is an old-fashioned movie that will make the hearts of all idealists truly sing.

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