In 1897, in Lota, Chile, in the face of long days, low pay, debts to the company store, unsafe and deadly working conditions, and widespread child labor, men try to establish a miners' ...
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In 1897, in Lota, Chile, in the face of long days, low pay, debts to the company store, unsafe and deadly working conditions, and widespread child labor, men try to establish a miners' association at one of the largest coal mines in the world. They must face Davis, an iron-fisted and murderous supervisor; there's at least one turncoat, willing to inform on their fellow workers; and, there are passions on all sides, including one between Fernando, a leader of the miners, and Virginia, the godchild of the mine's owners. Can the miners win a victory, and at what cost? Baldomero Lillo, a grocery clerk, records it all. Written by
Very little Chilean film is readily available in the US on DVD, which is a shame, and I truly hope that most Chilean films are better than this one. I don't want to say that it was bad in every aspect. Certainly, the photography was strong, as was the setting. Close attention was paid to wardrobe, and I would say that the results in this area were fantastic.
It's a terrible shame, then, that the writing and acting were so poor, especially the writing. The story of the miners in Lota is an important story that deserves dignity. I was hoping that this movie would be along the lines of Matewan, which is an excellent American film that has almost the exact same storyline as Sub Terra, reflecting similarities in aspects of our nations' histories. Sadly, the writing and acting in Sub Terra were much more similar to that of a soap opera, or perhaps an ABC Afterschool Special or a movie produced by Hallmark. Dialogue was predictable and sophomoric, characters were one dimensional, and the level of over sentimentality from the actors was just terribly uncomfortable to watch.
In short, avoid this film.
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