Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Reuters "Ken Loach's new film on the 1920 struggle for independence from Britain in rural Ireland teaches lessons on conflicts like today's war in Iraq, the director said as he showed the film in Cannes on Thursday. Loach, who has sparked controversy with his political films before, was greeted with much applause as he showed his historic tale "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" during the competition for the main Palme d'Or prize.

Loach said his story of two brothers fighting against British rule some 90 years ago shed light on a conflict that was not much talked about today, but which could help explain the current situation in Northern Ireland and conflicts elsewhere. "I think a story of a struggle for independence is a story that recurs and recurs and recurs ... There are all these armies of occupation somewhere in the world, being resisted by the people they are occupying," Loach told reporters.

"I don't need to tell anyone where the British now unfortunately and illegally have an army occupation. And the damage and the casualties and the brutalities that are emerging from that," the British director said in reference to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. "My view is that this was an illegal war ... It's an appalling scar on our government's record and clearly on the American's."

Loach said his film was not anti-British but showed people had more in common with those in the same social position in other countries than with those at the top of their own. "

I'm really looking forward to this. Whilst I thought 'Michael Collins' was excellent the fact that Loach's film will deal with the extraordinary ordinary people rather than the celebrated figures is a really welcome change - and one that was used to brilliant effect in Roddy Doyle's "Star named Henry" allowing the story to explore themes without the distraction of the personal foibles of the great men.

I'm also hoping it's going to spark some real debate about what's happening in Ireland today as most of the left seems to either be stuck in the dogmatic phrases of the past or completely ignor the situation as it stands now.


badmatthew said...

Yes looks like another triumph by Loach. But, Jim, what is the situation in Irekand today?

Renegade Eye said...

Sounds better than DaVinci Code for sure.

Jim Jay said...

RE - if it's half as good as land and freedom then it will be very good indeed!

BM - well, what do you think the situation is today? You see I feel rather unarmed about the whole question as people either ignor Ireland or repeat phrases from the past which are clearly inappropriate.

AN said...

I know this is appalling nit ppicking, but when ken Loach says the British have an illegal army of occupation in iraq, a point made often by the Peace Movement, it is wrong.

the invasion of Iraq almost certainly was illegal, but having conquered the country they have subsequently acheived legal status as occupiers - through i) convention as the de facto power, carryingh with it legal consequences; ii) by Un mandate; and iii) by support of the Iraqi government.

The legaility of the tenure in Iraq is different question form the injustice of the situation. And it is importnat to acknowledge the legal nature of the US occupatin, as that is also the basis for their subsequent war crimes of not quranteeing the safelty and security of the civilian population, a responsibity they enjoy under international law becasue they are the LEGAL occupiers

Jim Jay said...

What's this? Pendant's corner?


Jim Jay said...

What's this? Pendant's corner?


Reuben_the_communist said...

i think andy raises a serious point though - the left should not be contributing to the view that legality is the basis of morality justification - especially in matters of war and occupation. I think ts fair to say that most revoltionas are by their nture illegal. Moreover France currently has the cover of the UN to be propping up a dictator in the north of theIvory coast agaisnt the progressive government of the country.

The UN is - it goes without saying under the hegemony of a security council made up of capitalist-imperialist powers (and yes that includes China). Accepting that it is the perogative of such a body to determine which wars are just and which are not simply because - in the case of Iraq - the said powers have a conflict of interests is in my opinion extremely shortsighted.


AN said...

yes - that is the point I was making(admittedly pedantically - how well you know me) .

The wrongness of the US/UK military presence in Iraq is not based upon its legality or illegality.

And armed force provides its own legality - provided you win. Surely no one would argue that Castro's revolution (undoubtedly illegal under the law's of Batista's regime) has not resulted in a legal government in Cuba.

Jim Jay said...

"Surely no one would argue that Castro's revolution (undoubtedly illegal under the law's of Batista's regime) has not resulted in a legal government in Cuba."

I think there may be some people who argue this...

AN said...

Like who?

Even the US govt admits the legality of the Cban govt, which is whay they had to let castro into the USA to speak at the United Nations.

Jim Jay said...

I think the US example is a bit dodgy - I'm sure there are plenty in the US gov. who don't hold with the Cuban gov's legality, it sounds like a technicality to me, like accepting a caution - and in the board room of Bacardi there are some who have legal arguments against the Cuban regime.

AN said...

I don't think so Jim.
Even the "Joint Corporate Committee on Cuban Claims ", who are right wing nut jobs who want compensation for all the expropriated US property from 1960 talk about the need to negotiate with the Cuban Government. Which means that the recognise the authority of the Cuban government to negotiate.
There is a difference between thinking that the Cuban government has acted illegally (which they do), and believing that the Cuban government does not have legal sovereignty.
It is the issue of compensation for these US firms that seems to drive the insane US policies. Most bizarrely the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, includes the provision that the US government can take non US companies to court in the US if they are found to be trading on property in Cuba that belonged to previous US companies. (because they are the world government?)