Facets Cinémathèque

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March 27–April 2, 2015

U.S. Theatrical

The Coal Miner's Day
(Le jour du mineur)

Film still: The Coal Miner's Day


"The film works beautifully as a droll interrogation of how documentary filmmakers interact with their subjects, as well as an opportunity to glimpse working conditions in a remote and rarely-visited corner of Europe"
  —Hollywood Reporter

Every day hundreds of men risk life and limb going down into the Buzhanska mine in the Ukraine to mine coal with rusty old tools from the Soviet era. It is heavy, unhealthy, hazardous work, which thanks to the relatively high pay—two to four times what people earn in the city—is nevertheless tempting to many young men.

Once a year, they are honored during the Day of the Mineworker, another relic from the Soviet era, when the most deserving workers receive a rose from the director of the mine in a kitschy ceremony. For the rest of the year the workers are ignored, pestered or intimidated by their bosses, and no one is concerned with their safety. "That's the fire emergency system. If there's a fire, it bursts and the water falls down," one of the mineworkers explains. He is talking about a few bags of water, all the size of a fist, somewhat haphazardly hung from the low ceiling of the mineshaft. "Like a huge waterfall."

The Coal Miner's Day documents their work underground, their comradeship and dissatisfaction in and around the mine over the course of a year. Tunneling with the workers through otherworldly, subterranean environments, trading jokes with them, and joining with them in silence above ground as they remember fallen co-workers, The Coal Miner's Day gives dimension and color to lives rarely seen on screen, much less in public life.

Directed by Gaël Mocaër, 2013, France/Ukraine, 80 mins. In Ukrainian and Russian with English subtitles.


  • Fri., March 27 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., March 28 at 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., March 29 at 2:30, 4, 5:30 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., March 30–Apr. 2 at 7 & 9 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation