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Directed by Robert Greene • 2018 • United States
Radically combining collaborative documentary, western, and musical elements, BISBEE ’17 follows several members of a close-knit community as they attempt to reckon with their town’s darkest hour. In 1917, nearly two thousand immigrant miners, on strike for better wages and safer working conditions, were violently rounded up by their armed neighbors, herded onto cattle cars, shipped to the middle of the New Mexican desert, and left there to die. This long-buried and largely forgotten event came to be known as the Bisbee Deportation. BISBEE ’17 documents locals as they reenact scenes from the controversial story, culminating in a large-scale re-creation of the deportation itself on the exact day of its 100th anniversary. What plays out is a complex, multilayered exploration of collective memory that engages provocatively with contemporary political conversations around immigration, labor, environmental damage, corporate corruption, solidarity, and struggle.