John Sayles: Declarations of Independence

Following our successful mini-season of films by John Sayles a few years ago we return and revisit his work as a fiercely independent writer-director, ranging from his first film to one of his most recent — shamefully not given a proper UK release.

The Return of the Secaucus Seven

John Sayles | USA | 1979 | 104 minutes

Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.

Matewan

John Sayles | USA | 1987 | 135 minutes

A labour union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by a mining company.

City of Hope

John Sayles | USA | 1991 | 129 minutes

City of Hope is a portrait of a typical middle-sized American city of the present day. The crux of the story is an old apartment block which stands in the way of a major commercial development. Joe Rinaldi is the building contractor who owns the buildings, and is being pressured to torch them to permit the development to occur. His estranged son, Nick, soon becomes a pawn in the power politics of the city. Corrupt Mayor Baci and policeman O’Brien are determined to push the development, while idealistic city councilman Wynn soon finds himself torn between what he knows is right and what his black constituents want.

Men with Guns

John Sayles | USA | 1997 | 127 minutes

Humberto Fuentes is a wealthy doctor whose wife has recently died. In spite of the advice of his children, he takes a trip to visit his former students who now work in impoverished villages. His trip soon becomes a quest, politically awakening him when he finds out that one of his students was killed by the army.

Sunshine State

John Sayles | USA | 2002 | 141 minutes

A woman and her new husband returns to her hometown roots in coastal northern Florida, and must deal with family, business, and encroaching real estate development.

Amigo [TBC]

John Sayles | USA | 2010 | 124 minutes

An examination of a comparatively early example of US imperialism, depicting the American-Phillipine War.