As the nights draw in and the weather gets gradually worse, the best (and cheapest) option available for most of us in the evening is a night in with a film. This is therefore the ideal time to draw attention to our DVD collection at the Miners’ Library! All of the DVDs in our main collection can be borrowed by students for free and, unless they are recalled by another borrower, will be on your account for four weeks. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the wide selection of films we stock.
We hold examples of classic scripted television (Abigail’s Party, Boys from the Blackstuff, Cathy Come Home), iconic British films (A Taste of Honey, Victim, Look Back in Anger), modern comedy-dramas (Bhaji on the Beach, The Full Monty) and recent Hollywood movies (Black Swan, Midnight in Paris). There are also a wide variety of documentaries in our collection on history, politics and the arts.
I’ve found the DVDs to be especially useful when I’m looking for a general introduction to subjects that I previously knew very little about. For instance, I’ve watched several of the DVDs in our collection to understand more about the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike. Whereas starting a book on a subject as complex as the strike might’ve been off-putting, DVDs allow you to ease into a new topic and provide many of the key facts in a manner that is easy to follow.
Below are three DVDs that I have borrowed from the library on the topic of the strike that I have found particularly useful.
Still the Enemy Within
This documentary won rave reviews and was shortlisted for numerous awards when it was released in 2014. It is an extensive, well-researched film that attempts to follow the history of the strike as experienced by the ordinary people who lived through it. Featuring a cross-section of interviews with the miners up and down the country, Still the Enemy Within retells the complicated narrative of the Miners’ strike while offering personal accounts of key moments in the struggle.
The Miners Strike
First shown on BBC4, this 2009 documentary focuses on a Yorkshire village and interviews people on both sides of the strike . Narrowing the focus of the documentary to a small area lends the documentary a personal touch; the interviewees spent a lot of time together and can therefore give different perspectives on the same events. One of the most interesting moments in the documentary is when a strike breaker is interviewed about his experiences, including a fight he had with one of the other interviewees! Such moments highlight the animosity that developed between neighbours, as well as demonstrating that resentment felt by the community still exists decades later.
Pride has been borrowed consistently since arriving in the Library and it is not difficult to see why. Both funny and poignant, the film is based on the true story of the relationship between a Welsh mining community and a gay and lesbian support group that developed during the strike. Starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West, Pride successfully captures the parallel stories of two groups fighting for their rights while vilified by mainstream politics and the media. Though many elements of the story are fictionalised, the factual basis of the film rightly draws attention to an unlikely partnership that had almost been forgotten.
If you have any other questions about borrowing from the Miners’, or what else we might have in stock, please get in touch!