British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

High Row

Synopsis
In Cumbria, near Alston, a small drift mine was licensed from the Coal Board and worked by seven men, who had given up a variety of better paid jobs in exchange for a more independent working life. Burrowed deep into a hillside, with some of the seams only two feet high, the enterprise was commercially shaky, yet the men who endured physically hard and long working days viewed their lives with certain affection, and even lyricism.
The film observes a day in the life of the mine, using few words, but attempting to communicate something of the men’s own vision of their lives in a rich texture of sounds and images. Having no commentary and no dramatic climax, the film recaptures the pace and rhythm of their working day, while creating a cinematic "prose poem" from the surreal, yet harmonious co-existence of grinding archaic machinery and unperturbed wildlife, and creates a vivid sense of the passing of the day.

The film was scripted by observing, recording, and working with the men. In order to have control over the events when filming in the cramped conditions inside the mine, Amber proposed to rent the mine for a week, and paid the men to act themselves, and to reconstruct their working day. Members of the production team participated in the work process portrayed in the film in order to get ‘inside’ the lives of the miners.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of release
1975
Year of production
1974
Subjects
Sociology
Keywords
coal mines; mining; North-eastern England

Distribution Formats

Type
Film
Format
16mm
Availability
Hire

Type
VHS
Format
PAL
Price
£10.00 (+p&p)
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
33 minutes
Year
2003

Distributor

Name

Amber Films

Web
http://www.amber-online.com External site opens in new window
Phone
0191 232 2000
Fax
0191 232 3217
Address
5 Side
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 3JE

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 285 times.