GOOD LUCK (GOLD MINE)
(director/writer: Ben Russell; cinematographer: Ben Russell; editors: Maja Tennstedt/Ben Russell; Runtime: 143; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Janja Kralj; CaSK Films; 2017-France/Germany-in Serbian with English subtitles-color & black and white)
“An engrossing but uncomfortable non-fiction documentary, that seemed like a real-life thriller.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An engrossing but uncomfortable non-fiction documentary, that seemed like a real-life thriller. It tells about working conditions in the state-owned underground gold mine in Serbia and in their above-ground gold mine in Suriname.
The director-writer is the American experimental filmmaker Ben Russell (“A Spell to Ward off the Darkness”/”Let Each One Go Where He May“). It’s professionally shot on Super 16mm, with the filmmaker using his trademark long tracking shot to film behind and in front of his subjects as they engage in the exhausting chore of drilling and prospecting. The first part takes us by a crowded elevator down deep (a 600-meter descent) into the copper mine underground of the RTB Bor mining complex in Bor, Serbia.
The second part takes us to an illegal gold mine location in the tropical Americas. In both cases we observe the workers endangered on the job by the shoddy work conditions (where sickness is a common complaint). These unsafe conditions are caused by the greedy bosses who are more concerned with profits than safety (in both mines the workers suffer from industrial neglect). The politically observant and powerfully thought-provoking film more than implies that capitalism is the enslavement of the worker (reducing them to passively accepting their lot in life) by those who have the wealth to exploit them and make it a hell on Earth. Because the crew were in the dangerous mines at all times shooting, this seemed like an impossible film to survive the shoot.
Just watching it gave me a claustrophobic feeling, like few other films of this genre ever did.
REVIEWED ON 4/4/2018 GRADE: A- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/