The West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s movie series will ccontinue on three Saturdays this month of 2005—August 13, August 20 and August 27. There will be showings at 1 and 4 p.m. each day at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The August movies are all works directed by independent filmmaker John Sayles. The film series is free and open to the public.
The August 13 film, Matewan, (1987, 132 minutes) was actually filmed in the town of Thurmond and tells the uniquely American tale of coal minors fighting for their rights in rural West Virginia in the early part of the 20th century. The film was photographed in shades of brown and sepias and has early performances by Mary McDonnell and Chris Cooper, as well as another fine portrayal by the legendary James Earl Jones. Cooper plays a union organizer who scours the town of Matewan to unite miners in a strike after company officials start reducing workers’ wages, raising prices in the company store, and importing immigrants and minorities as cheaper labor. The crisis grows and the situation heads toward a shootout on Matewan’s main street.
On August 20, college friends reunite for a New England summer weekend in Sayles’ low-budget, first feature film Return of the Seacaucus Seven (1980, 104 minutes). A predecessor of the well-paced, character-driven films in Sayles’ future, Seacauscus Seven also looks ahead to the 1980s ensemble movies that it inspired, most notably Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill, which arrived in theaters three years later. Many critics cited this film in their decade-end list of the best films of the 1980s.
The Brother from Another Planet (1984, 110 minutes) will wrap up the film series on August 27. The film tells the story of a man who cannot talk, but who can read minds, listen carefully, look deep into eyes and provide a sort of mirror for society.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
Deputy Commissioner/Communications Manager
West Virginia Division of Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone (304) 558-0220, ext. 120
Fax (304) 558-2779