The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Autumn 2007 Edge series
Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 7:00pm
Directed by Ken Loach
Starring Orla Fitzgerald, Cillian Murphy, Pádraic Delaney, and Liam Cunningham
Rated 14A ·
Irish Gaelic and English
With such acclaimed films as My Name Is Joe, Raining Stones, Land and Freedom, Bread and Roses and his segment in the omnibus film 11’09”01 — September 11, Ken Loach has created an impressive body of work in the best of the British social realist tradition. His latest and most ambitious film, the historical period piece The Wind That Shakes the Barley, won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and screened at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival to wide acclaim.
Set in Ireland in 1919, the film chronicles a key chapter in the “Troubles” between Ireland and Britain. Irish workers have banded together to form a guerrilla resistance to the British “Black and Tan” squads sent to thwart Irish independence. At the heart of the story are two brothers, Damien (Cillian Murphy, Breakfast on Pluto) and Teddy (Pádraic Delaney). Damien has just started his career as a doctor, but feels compelled to join his brother in what will become a violent fight for rights and freedom.
As the war wages on, the Irish bring the British to their threshold and a treaty to end the bloodshed is signed. But deep-seated animosities do not easily disappear and bitter disputes arise. Civil war breaks out, causing rifts not only between enemies, but among those who were once on the same side.
A drama of epic proportions dealing with family, loyalty and history, The Wind That Shakes the Barley is an engrossing experience that evokes the intimate relationship between brothers, sublimely portrayed by Murphy and Delaney. Ken Loach’s vision is masterly, his propensity for appealing stories with social relevance proven once again.