The Last Mountain

Film. Directed by Bill Haney. Produced by Clara Bingham and Eric Grunebaum. 2011. 95 minutes.
Documentary on the consequences of mining and burning coal, with a focus on mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

Themes: Environment

LastMountainThe Last Mountain refers to Coal River Mountain, slated for destruction by Massey Energy Co. through the process known as mountaintop removal—blasting and scraping off an entire mountain to get at coal seams buried within.

The film “introduces us to the brave folks, the heroic people who are rising up and saying we aren’t going to take this anymore—we’re going to save our community,” in the words of singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris in a promotional clip for the film. And that’s a key contribution of The Last Mountain to the fine collection of mountaintop removal films [see “Coal at the Movies” in the Spring 2011 issue of Rethinking Schools.]

It exhibits and celebrates a tapestry of resistance to mountaintop removal mining—from the eloquent opposition of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who “stars” in the film; to homegrown activists like Bo Webb, Ed Wiley, and Maria Gunnoe; to the courageous young people from around the country who commit civil disobedience to prevent this environmental devastation. [Description by Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools.]


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