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Coal Face, Canada

Year: 1943
Language: English
Runtime: 20 min
Director: Robert Edmonds
Producer: Graham McInnes
Cinematographer: Joseph Braun
Editor: Helen Lewis
Sound: Gordon Fraser
Music: Louis Applebaum
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

On being discharged from the army, a young man returns to his coal mining home town and finds life and conditions much as he left them. He takes a room with a miner who had known his father and who recalls the tragedy of his death in the mines. The young man attends a union meeting where work conditions and the war effort are discussed. Convinced that the social injustices of the Depression will not be repeated and realizing the importance of coal to victory, he joins a night shift and goes to work in the mine.

Coal Face, Canada is a remarkable dramatized documentary, acted by non-professionals, whose theme is characteristic of the period: social injustices will end with the winning of the war, since Canadian workers have learned to work together for the common good. Director Robert Edmonds began his career with the NFB, but is better known in the United States as a filmmaker, teacher and writer. He is the author of About Documentary: Anthropology on Film.

By: Peter Morris

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