Date: Thursday, September 20, 2018
Location: Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA
Director: Robert Greene
Film Details: 124 minutes, 2018, USA, color, English, DCP
Official selection of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
Filmmaker Robert Greene will attend in person for discussion with local filmmaker Robb Moss, Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard College.
“…a passionately ambitious, patiently empathetic mapping of modern times.” – The New Yorker
“Bisbee ’17 is a fierce, lyrical probe into the soul of a town haunted by a history it would rather forget. It’s also an unsettling cipher for America, in a year when the ghosts of our past revealed themselves in frightening ways.” -Vox
About the Film:
An old mining town on the Arizona-Mexico border finally reckons with its darkest day: the deportation of 1200 immigrant miners exactly 100 years ago. Locals collaborate to stage recreations of their controversial past.
BISBEE ’17 is a nonfiction feature film by Sundance award winning director Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border.
Radically combining documentary and genre elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die.
When the last copper mines closed in 1975, the once-booming Bisbee nearly became another Arizona ghost town, but was saved by the arrival of a generation of hippies, artists and eccentrics that give the place its strange vibe today. Bisbee is considered a tiny “blue” dot in the “red” sea of Republican Arizona, but divisions between the lefties in town and the old mining families remain. Bisbee was once known as a White Man’s Camp, and that racist past lingers in the air.
As we meet the townspeople, they begin to confront the violent past of the Deportation, a long-buried secret in the old company town. As the 100th anniversary of Bisbee’s darkest day approaches, locals dress as characters on both sides of the still-polarizing event, staging dramatic recreations of scenes from the escalating miner’s strike that lead to the Deportation. Spaces in town double as past and present; reenactors become ghosts in the haunted streets of the old copper camp.
Richard plays the sheriff in a Western, Fernando portrays a Mexican miner in a Musical, a local politician is in her own telenovela. These and other enacted fantasies mingle with very real reckonings and it all builds towards a massive restaging of the Deportation itself on the exact day of its centennial anniversary.
About the Director:
Robert Greene is a filmmaker and writer. His latest film, Kate Plays Christine (2016) won a Jury Award for Writing at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Robert’s previous documentaries include the Gotham Awards-nominated Actress (2014), Fake It So Real (2011) and the Gotham Awards-nominated Kati With An I (2010). Robert was among four filmmakers chosen as an inaugural Sundance Art of Nonfiction fellow in 2015. He’s a two-time nominee for Best Director at the Cinema Eye Honors. Robert has edited over a dozen features, including Golden Exits (2017), Queen of Earth (2015) and Listen Up Philip (2014) by Alex Ross Perry, Amanda Rose Wilder’s award winning Approaching the Elephant (2014) Charles Poekel’s Spirit Awards nominated Christmas, Again (2015) and Douglas Tirola’s Hey Bartender (2013). He was post-production supervisor for 4th Row Films from 2002-2012. Robert writes for Sight & Sound and other outlets and is currently the Filmmaker-in-Chief at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri.
PICKET LINE | Cecilia Aldarondo | 2017 | 10 minutes
One week before Donald Trump was elected, 700 workers—many of whom were Trump supporters—walked out of the Momentive chemical plant in Waterford, NY, sparking a 105-day strike. In the wake of his win, the striking workers reflect on the election and Trump’s advocacy for union-busting legislation.