Coal Heap Kids

Coal Heap Kids

Documentary Film
52 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Anne Gintzburger
Frédéric Brunnquell
Frédéric Brunnquell
Laure Matthey
Frédéric Brunnquell, Anne Gintzburger
Marc Soupa
There was a witticism among producers in old Hollywood that a great film must begin with an explosion and then work up to a climax. This film, shot in the former mining region of Northern France, starts with six explosions. What the brothers Théo (10) and Loïc (15) blow up may only be Chinese firecrackers, but they still announce in the first ten seconds that this is about something big: the poverty that plagues Théo’s and Loïc’s hometown of Lens and has eaten its way into all the crevices of the personal and the social like aggressive acid. Once upon a time one would have been justified in predicting a great future as working class heroes for the boys. But who would want to recommend this ethically charged and outdated model to a young person today? Who could?!

“Coal Heap Kids” was made as a contribution to the “Infrarouge” documentary film series on French television. The energy that drives it is purely cinematographic, though. What does this mean? A film like this justifies the survival of documentary cinema. Once this sentence is written down, a lot of things become easier. Because in cases where a pounding heart will not (or cannot) be translated into sober words, a hug is sometimes all it takes!

Ralph Eue