The personal destinies of several people, mostly Italian miners and their closed relatives and friends, struck directly or indirectly by the dreadful tragedy which occurred on August 8th 1956 in the coal mine at Marcinelle (Belgium).
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Credited cast:
Giorgio Antonini
Alessia Barela
Antonio Berardinelli
Lidia Biondi ...
(as Lydia Biondi)
Krzysztof Bochenek
Zbigniew Bogdanski
Carla Calò
Maria Cecilia Cinardi
Linda Colaicamo
Agnieszka Czekanska ...
Moglie Delanoi


The personal destinies of several people, mostly Italian miners and their closed relatives and friends, struck directly or indirectly by the dreadful tragedy which occurred on August 8th 1956 in the coal mine at Marcinelle (Belgium).

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Plot Keywords:

miner | See All (1) »








Release Date:

23 November 2003 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Au coeur du brasier  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


€5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

A disaster movie with a heart
17 June 2010 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

Before watching 'Marcinelle', I had only vague knowledge of the tragedy which struck this Belgian mine on 8 August 1956. Now, thanks to the talented brother directors Andrea and Antonio Frazzi, I can say I know everything (or almost) about it. At the same time, I was blown away by the quality of their filmed reenactment, scared stiff by the ordeal the characters of this movie had to go through, touched by the grief experienced by those who survived them and outraged by the shameful practices of the Marcinelle mine owners.

In other words, a film that manages both to inform and move you is definitely a film to be seen.

A major asset of 'Marcinelle' lies in the fact that it is a TV film. Benefitting from a three hour length (few theatrical films last that long), it can go deep (no pun intended!) into its subject and avoid prejudicial ellipsis and abridging. Another advantage is the possibility to air the movie in two parts, making the viewing of such an oppressive work a little less of a trial.

Another good point is writers Laura Toscano and Franco Marotta's choice of the specific-to-general pattern. They have indeed opted for a presentation of several individual characters first (Antonino,a failed boxer who emigrates to Belgium to flee Sicily where he owes money; Santina who decides to join her husband she misses only to find he is living with another woman, a.s.o.) and only after we have got close to them (with their qualities and shortcomings) do they start the description of the catastrophe, thus adding even more impact to its spectacular images. The quality of their script is still enhanced by the Frazzi brothers who, thanks to a tight direction, never wallow into excessive whining or sentimentality. And when it comes to the action scenes the result it outright amazing. The way the fire starts, spreads and ruthlessly rushes on to the miners is shown with such realism that you surprise yourself cowering in your armchair to escape it.

No doubt the Frazzi brothers are excellent disaster movie makers but there is more to "Marcinelle' than just another'Towering Inferno' or 'Earthquake'. They prove good in all the other departments as well : they are good actor directors (Claudio Amendola, Maria Grazia Cucinotta and all the cast are very convincing), they can work in a very difficult environment (a mine pit in Poland) without apparent effort, they can show restraint when necessary, they recapture a period to perfection (the production values - vehicles, costumes, interior decoration - are flawless). The information they give about coal-mining in general and the catastrophe in particular are so precise that they give a documentary quality to this fiction film.And the empathy they display towards their characters (with the exception of the cold-hearted chief engineer) makes viewing this film poignant throughout .

If 'Marcinelle' is a disaster movie, then it is got to be called a disaster movie with a heart. Recommended

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