The Wind That Shakes the Barley

It’s easy to know what your against, quite an honor to know what you are for” Damien O’Donovan

This is the first Ken Loach film I have ever seen. I liked it. The film about the Troubles and the Irish fight for independence immediately after WW I, was also a deeply moving portrait about the relationship between love, familial ties and love of country. As with all guerrilla wars the fighting depicted is violent and deeply personal pitting personal ties against political loyalties. This becomes even more true once the Irish Civil War breaks out between those supporting the Anglo-Irish Treaty and those opposed. The opposition appears more radical, desiring not just nominal freedom from England but a larger overturning of the existing social/class order. Although, not obviously Communist the Anti-Treaty IRA speak of wealth redistribution and a changing of the social guard.

The movie is beautifully shot and it of course helps that much of the film makes extensive use of the Irish countryside. Green rolling hills and pictaresque farm houses. It is shot (and edited) in a fairly slow and deliberate way. Finally, given the storyline and subject matter it should be no surprise that the film was deeply moving and made me choke up more than once.


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