Previously at Film Forum

THE MINERS’ HYMNS

  • 1:00
  • 2:45
  • 4:30
  • 6:15
  • 8:00
  • 10:00

$7 Member  $12.50 Regular

*plus additional short films

DIRECTED BY BILL MORRISON

Best known for DECASIA (an experimental compilation of decaying celluloid), acclaimed multimedia artist Bill Morrison ostensibly moves in a very different direction in THE MINERS’ HYMNS, in which he uses stunning black and white archival footage of coal miners, preserved by the British Film Institute National Archive, to create an emotional requiem for a vanished way of life. The film is set to an original score by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, whose music has been called “somber, stark and sometimes sinister.” THE MINERS’ HYMNS reinvents how we experience history as it pays tribute to the brutal reality at the heart of the lives glimpsed, however fleetingly. Also in our program: RELEASE (2010), a crowd gathers to watch Al Capone’s release from prison in 1930; OUTERBOROUGH (2005), the Brooklyn Bridge as you have never seen it before; and THE FILM OF HER (1996), a history of the movies in just 12 minutes.

USA / UK • 2011 • 52 MINS. (ENTIRE PROGRAM IS 85 MINS.) • ICARUS FILMS

REVIEWS

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“...an elegant, elegiac found-footage work from Bill Morrison, best know for his silent-film reverie DECASIA... It would make quite the double bill with THE IRON LADY, the recent historically fanciful trifle about Margaret Thatcher, who helped crush the miners' union in the 1980s. THE MINERS' HYMNS is the better, far more satisfying work and, in its Film Forum engagement, it comes with some dividends: three of Mr. Morrison's earlier shorts, all of which also consist of skillfully, clearly lovingly manipulated older material that originated on film.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Click here to read the full review.

“Critics’ Pick. Morrison is something of a magician. A lovely, stark film!”
– New York Magazine

“Speaks eloquently about the disappearance of most any indigenous working-class culture… The film (becomes) an industrial primer, a tribute to the awful, awesome power of the machine. All of this is also, incidentally, a tribute to another industry of ore – the dynamic standards of cinematography upheld by British cameramen working in industrial films.”
– Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice

“The film opens with a 4.5 minute sequence of aerial shots, in gorgeous HD color, of innocuously suburban and rustic England: sports arenas, empty fields, and shopping centers, all identified in onscreen text as the location of former coalmine sites… Following this sequence, we are confronted with a beautifully crisp, black and white ode to the British Miners’ Union, the workers and their families and their close-knit communities… Morrison manipulates the footage, slowing down each movement to match the tempo of the plaintive music…The soundtrack… reinforces the combined themes of joyful celebration and acute loss.”
– Roberta Friedman, Millennium Film Journal

THE MINERS’ HYMNS is an intensely emotional experience… As Lee Hall, writer of Billy Elliot notes: ‘There is no romance in the history of mining.’ However, there are strikingly lyrical moments in some scenes that Morrison includes in this elegy. Most indelible is the timeworn visage of an elderly woman, a miner’s wife, widow or mother… in what looks like an hour of mourning.”
– Graham Fuller, Sight + Sound

Trailer

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