Interview: Cowboys and Indians
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Politics: Bargain Basement
Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
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History: A Stitch in Time
Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
The Road to Bangalore
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Yet against the backdrop of an occupied Iraq sliding inexorably towards civil war, it's not hard to see the modern-day relevance of veteran British filmmaker Ken Loach's latest offering.
Following the First World War and the 1916 Easter uprising in Dublin, the cause for Irish independence is chafing against the full weight of British occupation.
Returned English soldiers, survivors of the killing fields of France, are drafted into the Royal Irish Constabulary to oppose Irish nationalists and combat the nascent IRA and Sinn Féin.
The 'Black and Tans' soon develop a notorious reputation for torture, murder and brutal oppression of the local population.
It is under these bleak circumstances that brothers Damian (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy (Padraic Delaney) join the fight for an Irish republic, conducting guerilla raids against the occupying forces.
The film features graphic scenes of torture conducted by the British soldiers, already dehumanised by their experiences in the Great War.
These depictions sparked a furious response from English reviewers, most accusing English-born Loach of pro-Irish bias with some labeling him a traitor to his own country.
Loach's recent films have never been far from controversy. The director of Kes experienced a resurgence during the 1990s with films such as Riff Raff that documented the experiences of the English working class during the Thatcher years.
While Loach's depiction of the British brutality pulls no punches, perhaps the most harrowing scene occurs when Damian executes on of his own who betrayed the group; a poor farm boy who is barely 16.
As the Irish Free State is established in 1921 (in the process partitioning Ireland into the 26 county south and six county north), so too are the brothers divided along political lines.
In a metaphor for the bloodshed that is to follow over the next 80 years, close personal relationships - which are at the heart of this film - are torn apart.
While the arid dunes of the middle-east are a world away from the green countryside of Ireland in the 1920s; the individual costs of resistance, idealism and compromise are ultimately paid in the same currency.
The Wind that shakes the Barley is currently screening nationally. For more information visit www.dendy.com.au
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