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DERI on Film

Above Us the Earth, is directed by independent filmmaker Karl Francis from Bedwas, Gwent, Wales. He used amateur and professional actors to explore the community impact of a Rhymney Valley pit closure. Critical of the National Coal Board and the trade unions, the film lingered rewardingly on fractious interactions between politicians and union leaders, and Francis teased out the forces creating a schism in the community.

The pit closures of the 1970s and 1980s, which so blighted convivial community life in the south Wales valleys, elicited little response from mainstream filmmakers. The film focuses on the 1975 closure of the Ogilvie Colliery in the Rhymney Valley, a few miles from Francis’ family home and explores the impact on the local people and the industries that are involved.

The film examines with brutal honesty the dilemma of the mining communities during the closures and highlights the issues of employment. The film doesn’t let any negotiating parties off the hook as Francis looks at the issues, almost forensically, from diverse perspectives.

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