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The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 23 March 2007 (USA)
Against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence, two brothers fight a guerrilla war against British forces.

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6 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dan
...
Mary O'Riordan ...
Peggy (as Mary Riordan)
...
Bernadette
Laurence Barry ...
Micheail
Damien Kearney ...
...
Leo
Myles Horgan ...
Martin Lucey ...
...
Shane Casey ...
Kevin
John Crean ...
Máirtín de Cógáin ...
Sean (as Mairtin de Cogain)
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Storyline

In 1920, rural Ireland is the vicious battlefield of republican rebels against the British security forces and Irish Unionist population who oppose them, a recipe for mutual cruelty. Medical graduate Damien O'Donovan always gave priority to his socialist ideals and simply helping people in need. Just when he's leaving Ireland to work in a highly reputed London hospital, witnessing gross abuse of commoners changes his mind. he returns and joins the local IRA brigade, commanded by his brother Teddy, and adopts the merciless logic of civil war, while Teddy mellows by experiencing first-hand endless suffering. When IRA leaders negotiate an autonomous Free State under the British crown, Teddy defends the pragmatic best possible deal at this stage. Damien however joins the large seceding faction which holds nothing less than a socialist republic will do. The result is another civil war, bloodily opposing former Irish comrades in arms, even the brothers. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Winner of the PALME D'OR at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Language:

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Release Date:

23 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El viento que acaricia el prado  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£390,720 (United Kingdom), 25 June 2006, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$76,190, 18 March 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,829,142, 8 July 2007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,889,018
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apart from Liam Cunningham and Pádraic Delaney, pretty much all the actors playing the Irish are from county Cork, where the story of the film is set and where it was filmed. See more »

Goofs

A few of the IRA members are seen armed with German Mauser Kar98k rifles. However, these rifles weren't introduced until 1935, whereas the film takes place in 1920-1922. See more »

Quotes

Damien: Your presence here is a crime, a foreign occupation. You tell me what I'm supposed to do as a democrat. Turn the other cheek for another 700 years? Is that it?
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Soundtracks

The Doon Reel
Traditional
Arranged by the performers
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
See the film or watch the DVD - do not miss this unique opportunity.
13 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

An admirer of Ken Loach's unique style of film making, I say this is the best I've seen. His direction and techniques are now so finely tuned they sit almost subliminally behind a brutal but superlative story set in 1920s Ireland. I say 'almost' because I came out knowing I've never seen a film like this ever before, thanks to Loach.

Approach it as if you are about to watch a play. Listen intently to the dialogue complete with Cork accents depicting beautiful people forced into situations where they cross lines they cannot return over. Share in their juxtaposition of feelings of remorse with acts of war/self-preservation. In the horror of it all you might wish to be able to suspend disbelief in the fictional sense, but that'll be replaced with the overwhelming sense of truth and a not-so-long-ago reality. The individuals could be you or I at anytime and we take solace in the fact that perhaps we are among the lucky ones to have escaped this. Make space then to contemplate if, as a nation, we still effect this turmoil on others today. Remain with the story though. You feel as if you are there, smelling the turf in the air, privileged to be on the doorstep of the thatched residence that witnessed so many tragedies.

The character portrayals are mesmerising as Loach maximises body language; hesitancy, fear, stuttering and small moments of humour in his realistic approach. You already know each character before s/he speaks. But when they do speak, you are in the room with them agreeing or disagreeing - ready to pitch in if the moment were to present itself. As each personal struggle is revealed you again feel fortunate to have witnessed it. Simultaneously you feel relieved to be able to pull out and watch from a distance when more horror action scenes unfold.

This is true drama seeking no false gratification akin to other current films. Unstinting in its portrayal of the Brutish (not a spelling mistake) it is nevertheless universally significant and local at the same time. The photography is exquisite capturing timeless Ireland. The sound plays the noises of the times so well the viewers could imagine the scenes with their eyes closed.

As a Scot I am dismayed at the general poor response/reviews of the British press and I'm reminded that the British psyche has to learn to come to terms with its recent past. I wish that today we could transcend that and promote this film to ordinary people as an important film to see at some point in their lives. In future, any young adult asking me about the 'Irish problem' - I'll simply lend them my own personal DVD of this film and say "watch this!" It'll make it all the more easier for all of us to see the past and to avoid repeating it.


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