West Virginia industrial landscapes are collaged on an optical printer through a series of jagged shapes that transform the photographed scenes into a semi-abstract kinetic field. The technique developed by Brand in his earlier films, extends the already complex visual idiom by inlaying social, sexual, personal and political subject matter. Woven into the fabric of the film is the story of Fred Carter, a retired coal miner and black lung activist who was framed by the Federal Government in its effort to undercut the black lung movement and to stop his bid for president of the United Mine Workers Association. His story is told through fragments of documentary interviews and by a poet whose narrative forms a counter theme within the film. The film’s thematic content and formal visualizations sit in precarious balance.
Poetic text by Kimiko Hahn
Sound composition by Earl Howard
Color | Sound | 39 minutes
Also available on 16mm and DVD. For more information visit bboptics.com/coalfields.html