Too bad I didn't see 'The Happy Lands' at school; how could anyone not be stirred...
The film, made in 2012, is set in a coal-mining village, Fife, Scotland during the UK General Strike - it blew me away.
Usually I avoid such hardship stories about 'close communities', but this... this captured and held me. With its authentic dialect, most of the actors were local volunteers - who needs the Big Names with their strained accents? Some might not understand the words; however, it is subtitled in English - and the sounds, passion and action will carry you through.
The philosophical aspects? Where to begin...
Snippets of dialogue:
'When I fought for a bloody useless war I was a hero, when I fight for my own I'm a traitor'
Soldier to miner: 'You miners are bringing the country to its knees'
Miner: 'I fought to stop this country for coming to its knees'
In prison when expressing doubts as to the point of the 'fight', the response:
'If you forget who you are, you lose who you are'
Also includes a bloodcurdling sketch of Harry Lauder performing at a local theatre. 'Stop your tickling Jock' being sung while miners families are being struck by police batons...
I watched this last night on BBC2 Scotland, it is available on DVD for £12.12. Here is a 3 minute trailer:
Causes of the 1926 general strikeTheatre Workshop Scotland presents The Happy Lands, a feature film developed and created along with members of the mining communities of Fife, Scotland. The Story It's the General Strike 1926 - only seven years after the slaughter of the trenches, miners unions lead the country against savage austerity cuts handed to the nation by a Liberal-Conservative government. Inspired by true stories from local families in Fife, the Happy Lands follows the journey of law-abiding citizens who become law-breakers in a heroic battle against the state. It's never a good time to stand up for your rights - but it's always the right time. The Happy Lands is a Theatre Workshop Scotland Production supported by Creative Scotland through The National Lottery, in association with BBC Scotland. Directed by Robert Rae.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1926_Unite ... ral_strike
'The Happy Lands' - a community film which combines the past with the present, still relevant after all these years...The First World War: The heavy domestic use of coal in the war meant that rich seams were depleted. Britain exported less coal in the war than it would have done in peacetime, allowing other countries to fill the gap. The United States, Poland and Germany and their strong coal industries benefited in particular.
Coal production, which was at its lowest ebb. Output per man had fallen to just 199 tonnes in 1920–4, from 247 tonnes in the four years before the war, and a peak of 310 tons in the early 1880s. Total coal output had been falling since 1914.
The fall in coal prices resulting from the 1924 Dawes Plan that, among other things, allowed Germany to re-enter the international coal market by exporting "free coal" to France and Italy as part of their reparations for the First World War.
The reintroduction of the gold standard in 1925 by Winston Churchill: this made the British pound too strong for effective exporting to take place from Britain, and also (because of the economic processes involved in maintaining a strong currency) raised interest rates, hurting some businesses.
Mine owners wanted to normalise profits even during times of economic instability, which often took the form of wage reductions for miners in their employ. Coupled with the prospect of longer working hours, the industry was thrown into disarray.
The miners' pay had gone down from £6.00 to £3.90 in the space of seven years
Makes ya' think, laugh and weep...