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"Bull" McCabe's family has farmed a field for generations, sacrificing endlessly for the sake of the land. And when the widow who owns the field decides to sell the field in a public auction, McCabe knows that he must own it. But while no one in the village would dare bid against him, an American with deep pockets decides that he needs the field to build a highway. The Bull and his son decide to convince the American to give up bidding on the field, but things go horribly wrong. Written by
The story of an Irishman fighting to own and protect the land he and his family transformed from rock-strewn waste to verdant pasture from foreign encroachment and development.
I won't recap the story line because it's so complex, but some thoughts occurred to me as I watched:
Bull McCabe perfectly symbolizes the heathen heart of Europe, untamed by Christianity (symbolized by the pasty-faced priest) or crass capitalism (symbolized by the bland Yank). Note how Bull carries a staff and wears cloak-like outfits throughout the film, looking very much like a Pagan high priest. He is, at heart, a savage who will cast off the artificial chains of foreign religions and phony social mores to defend one of the most primal concerns of man: territory.
The priest pointedly notes at one point that the people in this rocky Irish village are covered with only a "thin veneer of Christianity," implying that their paganistic racial memory runs too deep and strong to be ignored. And only a few scenes later is the first, bloody climax of the film when that "thin veneer" is ripped off.
An excellent film which deserved more praise than it got and should not be missed if the chance to see it arises.
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