The Wind That Shakes the Barley

We went to see The Wind That Shakes the Barley last night. I went along expecting some Michael Collins or Braveheart romanticised brit-bashing light entertainment, but no.

This one wasn’t easy to watch. It’s set during the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War which is only now about to drop out of living memory in Ireland. The emphasis isn’t so much on the fighting, but on the heartbreaking impact it had on families.

I like this comment on the IMDb page:

I saw this film at a private screening and found it difficult yet beautiful to watch.

This film is a template for what film makers can achieve with a small budget, dedicated performers and a timeless topic.

The sacrifices made 80 years ago still resonate today but the Republic of Ireland is now the third richest country in Europe. The question still debated is Was it Worth it? The question we ask is how’s Scotland and Wales doing?

3 thoughts on “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”

  1. I saw this a couple of weeks ago (inflight movie, believe it or not). Very hard to watch (for this Brit) but gripping at the same time.

    You might like to try “Land and Freedom”, also historical movie directed by Loach.

  2. Very cryptic Calum, maybe it is more obvious to others the true feelings of a Scot living in Dublin.

    Escapist entertainment (“snakes on a plane”) is what I go to the cinema for and I only reluctantly go to see political films like the Wind that Shakes the Barley. As far as I know Ken Loach doesn’t do light entertainment, anyone remeber Kes (the boy and his Kestrel)? Not a film Disney would ever make.
    The film is hard to watch because of the difficult and very real subject matter. The portrayal of the Black and Tans is harsh but to the best of my knowledge historically accurate, although there was some hint that these more than simply thugs who hated the Irish but men who had survied a brutal World War. Far more interesting and compelling was the treatment of the Civil War when the Irish turn on the Irish. The film wasn’t big on exposition or putting things in their historical context but it worked well nonetheless.
    Compelling but serious stuff.

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