Whisked back to 1950s Ireland, we enter a world where everybody speaks without intonation, and exclusively on the topic of the Irish Civil War. Schoolchildren go to school to learn about the Civil War. The drinkers in the pub divide themselves according to their Civil War allegiances. Remembrances are carried out for those who died in the Civil War. The town is divided between those who believe we should remember and those who want to forget...the Civil War. Every glance and conversation is dripping with meaning that traces back to the Civil War.
The blurb on the videocover of Broken Harvest suggests that the film is a parable of the troubles in modern Ireland. The only parallel which strikes me is that in present day Dublin conversation is indeed dominated by one topic: house prices. If its intention is to offer some sort of insight into Ireland's obsession with its past, it fails miserably. It is striking how few Irish films have dealt with the Irish civil war and its legacies. However it will take a film of a great deal more subtlety and intelligence than this one to tell us anything about the lasting effects of such a traumatic event on the nation's psyche.
For those American viewers who have suggested the film evokes the atmosphere of 1950s Ireland: it doesn't. 1950s Ireland was a horrible, poverty stricken pit of sexual repression and misery from which young people fled in their droves. However there was more than one topic of conversation.