Shadows of endurance
‘Shadows of Endurance’ portrays two centuries of American history through stratified layers of time, comparing the lives of the people currently living in Harlan County with the vast oral histories collected by Italian author Alessandro Portelli over 30 years of field research. These are the stories of people struggling to survive in an area stripped of its identity. Deprived of a historical perspective as well as of any possible trajectory, these characters reveal a dramatic nature – often leading a life on the fringes of the law, fighting a lonely battle for survival. On the other hand, the testimonies gathered by Portelli reflect a mythical and yet concrete past, when the clash was collective and the elements were supernatural.