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.


BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: RAZOR
2007, Universal, 104 min, USA, Dir: Félix Enríquez Alcalá

Part of Ronald D. Moore’s beloved and critically acclaimed re-imagining of “Battlestar Galactica,” this stand-alone telefilm chronicles the story of the Battlestar Pegasus and its unhinged commander, Admiral Helena Cain (a brilliant Michelle Forbes), from the original Cylon attack to its reunion with Commander Adama’s (Edward James Olmos) Battlestar Galactica.


DANCES WITH WOLVES
1990, MGM Repertory, 181 min, USA, Dir: Kevin Costner

Union Lieutenant Dunbar (Kevin Costner, who also directed) takes a new assignment on the Western frontier, where he comes into contact with the Sioux tribe and gradually comes to identify with them, falling in love with one of their women (Mary McDonnell), hunting buffalo and ultimately becoming a full-blown member of the tribe. A traitor in the eyes of his own people, Dunbar ultimately must decide to whom his allegiance truly belongs. Winner of seven Oscars including John Barry’s nod for best score.


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