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John Sayles American IndependentJohn Sayles—American Independent


  • 1987
  • Directed By: John Sayles
  • Rated PG-13
  • Drama
  • 135 Minutes
  1. Friday, September 9, 2011 6:30 p.m.

Based on true events, Matewan tells the tale of a coal workers strike and unionization attempt in a small town in West Virginia in 1920. When the coal company announces a lower pay rate, a strike is called by United Mine Worker Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper). The miners are joined by Italian and black coal workers, and the battles between the company and miners lead to violence and tragedy. A masterpiece of independent film making, the film is one of John Sayles’ greatest achievements. With James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, and cinematography by Haskell Wexler. (35mm preservation print is provided courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archive.)