The quality of imagery decays concomitantly to the coal industry. We move to TV for coverage of the event that, as much as any other, put an end to Durham, the 1984–85 miners' strike, workers seen scrapping with coppers on charging horses. Then, in the film's final movement, Morrison returns to a scene from better days, that of Durham's annual Miners' Gala, where brass bands congregate under splendid Lodge banners and then march in processional to a service at the Durham Cathedral.
Approaching the cathedral, the film reaches emotional depths until now only hinted at. Honoring this convocation of two seemingly opposed organizations since much-depleted in influence—Marxist trade unions and the Church of England—and intertwining the nation's conservative and progressive heritage, Hymns achieves an elegiac note. For Morrison, more poet than politician, it is enough that something is lost to make it worth searching for.
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