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.