In 1917, nearly two-thousand immigrant miners from Bisbee, Arizona went on strike for better wages and safer working conditions. They were violently rounded up by their armed neighbors, herded into 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.
One hundred years later, filmmaker Robert Greene visits the small border town seven miles north of Mexico to stage a dramatization of the events in collaboration with locals. The result is an impressive, large-scale recreation of the deportation that underscores the difficulty of collective memory, while confronting the current political predicaments of immigration, unionization, environmental damage and corporate corruption with direct, haunting messages about solidarity and struggle. Bisbee ‘17 cleverly straddles the line between fiction and reality by combining collaborative documentary, western and musical elements.
“The result is a singularly American riff on The Act of Killing, a fascinating and dream-like mosaic that’s less driven by residual anger than by cockeyed concern, less interested in exhuming the past than in revealing its value to the present.” - INDIEWIRE