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Apr 28

Matewan

Dir. John Sayles USA 135 min PG-13

1987 Park Circus Films

Immediately following this Workers Memorial Day screening, presented with Omaha Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, panel will be moderated by John Kretzschmar, director of the William Brennan Institute of Labor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and will include retired Brennan Institute professor and Omaha Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Ambassador of Community Services Edgar Moore; and Father Dan Wittrock of St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago, Neb., and former journeyman, Steamfitters & Plumbers Local 464.

The gritty 1987 drama tells the story of one of America’s bloodiest labor disputes. Stone Mountain Coal Company owns the land its workers live on and the stores where they get their food and clothes. When management lowers wages, raises prices at the store, and brings in cheaper labor, concern builds among the townspeople. Into this setting steps union organizer Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper) whose goal is to unite all the miners to strike. Tension builds to a showdown, in history called the Battle of Matewan. The film remains among director John Sayles’ highest regarded work. Also featured in the film is a young Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy).

Film Stills

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