THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD
1990, Kino Lorber, 105 min, USA/UK, Dir: Nancy Kelly

Set in a mining town in the 1880s, THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD is based on the classic novel by Ruthanne Lum McCunn with a screenplay by award-winning filmmaker Anne Makepeace (TRIBAL JUSTICE). The acclaimed drama tells the real-life story of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a young Chinese woman whose desperately poor parents sell her into slavery; she is soon trafficked to a nefarious saloonkeeper in Idaho's gold country. Eventually Charlie (Chris Cooper), a different kind of man, wins her in a poker game and slowly gains her trust. Way ahead of its time, the film resonates even more powerfully today in the era of #MeToo. “A genuine triumph … This is classic Western filmmaking: the lucid lyricism of a John Ford, a Budd Boetticher, a George Stevens. But, since Kelly is dealing with different kinds of conflicts, the film always seems to be opening up a new world … Independent in the best sense of the word.” - Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times


MATEWAN
1987, Park Circus/MGM, 132 min, USA, Dir: John Sayles

Based on a true incident in the impoverished but coal-rich hills of West Virginia in the 1920s, writer-director John Sayles’ masterpiece is an unforgettable portrait of a community struggling to assert itself under the crushing dominance of capitalist greed. Chris Cooper (ADAPTATION) turns in his finest performance as labor organizer Joe Kenehan, with tremendous support from a cast that includes James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn and Sayles himself. The cinematography by Haskell Wexler (WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, and winner of the 1992 ASC Lifetime Achievement Award) perfectly captures the haunted, bone-weary desperation of the miners and their families.


LONE STAR
1996, Warner Bros., 135 min, USA, Dir: John Sayles

Chris Cooper plays an easygoing Texas sheriff who discovers unpleasant truths about his town and his own past in this intricately plotted murder mystery. Displaying his usual talent for ensemble characterization, director John Sayles follows nearly a dozen major players (Kris Kristofferson, Frances McDormand and Matthew McConaughey are among the film's many talented actors) as their stories intersect and raise questions about political corruption, multiculturalism, and other contemporary issues.


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