These Fragments

second award
Country: United Kingdom
Category: Documentary, Soundtrack
Release date: 2015
Duration: 24 mins
Director: Stephen Linstead
Edition: January 2015-2016
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (11 votes, average: 7.45 out of 10)

This film, made on the 30th Anniversary of the end of the year-long coal Miners’ Strike in the UK, was completed as the last deep coal mine in the UK closed. It looks at the erasure of the industry physically from the landscape and the issues of memory that creates for the communities that continue to struggle to survive. The focus is on a small area around Barnsley, once the capital of the coalfield, following the main seams of coal, the mines and communities built on them, the stately homes and the ruined villages. The technique is that of the “video-ballad” – my own adaptation of the “radio-ballad” of Parker and MacColl – using music written and performed by miners, their sons and daughters, a small amount of “actuality”, to carrying the narrative, with some text captioning – but no direct interaction with people. The focus then is on emotion and context and communicating a mixed sense of dislocation and shared affection – of ghosts, of memory haunting the stones. But the memories can be harsh – the melancholic note of longing for a lost collective is, at best, conflicted and unresolved. But some spirit has survived and constantly reasserts itself – the struggle with dysphoria and dystopia goes on.

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