This past winter, we named Bisbee ’17 as the best documentary of last year (“Best Documentaries of ’18,” Jan 9). This Thursday, you’ll finally have a chance to see Robert Greene’s account of a historical re-enactment that carries unexpected weight.
The film’s subject is Bisbee, Arizona, once the home of copper mines that supplied America’s participation in two world wars. It was during World War I that the mostly Mexican and Slavic miners went on strike for better pay and working conditions. Their actions were interpreted as treasonous, and local law enforcement (on the orders of the mining company) rounded up 2,000 miners and their families and deported them to the middle of the New Mexico desert. White people who tried organizing the laborers were also included in the deportation, which is how Bisbee’s sheriff forced his own brother out of town at gunpoint and left him to die of thirst.
The 100th anniversary of this atrocity takes place in a sadly diminished town struggling in the wake of the mines being closed. The townsfolk (white and Hispanic) take part in a massive full-scale re-enactment that includes historically accurate clothes and firearms. Never mentioned here is Donald Trump. Though this part of Arizona has its share of Trump supporters, they change their tune when they’re the ones holding rifles and frog-marching other people through their streets. The film screens as part of the Fort Worth Library’s Movies That Matter series.
Bisbee ’17 screens at 7pm at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-738-9215.