Written and directed by John Sayles (Lone Star), this wrenching historical drama recounts the true story of a West Virginia coal town where the local miners’ struggle to form a union rose to the pitch of all-out war in 1920. When the town of Matewan’s miners go on strike, organizer Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper, in his screen debut) arrives to help them, uniting workers white and black, Appalachia-born and immigrant, while urging patience in the face of the coal company’s violent provocations. With a crackerjack ensemble cast—including James Earl Jones, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell, and Will Oldham—and Oscar-nominated cinematography by Haskell Wexler (In the Heat of the Night), Matewan taps into a rich vein of Americana with painstaking attention to local texture, issuing an impassioned cry for justice that still resounds today.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Sayles, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Audio commentary featuring Sayles and cinematographer Haskell Wexler
• New documentary on the making of the film featuring Sayles, producer Maggie Renzi, production designer Nora Chavooshian, and actors Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Will Oldham, and David Strathairn
• New interview with composer Mason Daring on the film’s soundtrack
• New program on the film’s production design featuring Chavooshian
• PLUS: An essay by critic A. S. Hamrah