Spring 1936, a young unemployed communist, David, leaves his hometown Liverpool to join the fight against fascism in Spain. He joins an international group of Militia-men and women, the ... See full summary »
Neil Jordan's historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, the man who led a guerrilla war against the UK, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War.
During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.
Angie gets the sack from a recruitment agency for bad behaviour in public. Seizing the chance, she teams up with her flatmate, Rose, to run a similar business from their kitchen. With ... See full summary »
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
The commercial interest expressed in the United Kingdom was initially much lower than in other European countries and only 30 prints of the film were planned for distribution in the UK, compared with 300 in France. However, after the Palme d'Or award the film appeared on 105 screens in the UK, more than three times larger than the UK release for any of Ken Loach's previous films. See more »
In the beginning, as the characters play a game of hurling, a farm is visible in the background, at the foot of a mountain. The buildings near the farmhouse are much too large and modern to have been constructed in 1920's Ireland. See more »
Promise me, Damien. Promise me you won't bury me next to him?
[points to Sir John]
The chapel. Do you remember, on the way up? Do you remember?
Tell Teddy I'm sorry. I'm scared, Damien.
Have you said your prayers?
God protect you.
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This is a truly great film and well deserving of the Palm D'Or.
It has been said that it is pro IRA or IRA propaganda. I disagree. In fact I think the reverse is the case. It shows up both the brutality of war and the even greater brutality of civil war that sets nation against nation and brother against brother. The film provides an understanding of how Ireland became independent in 1920-1921. It is well documented (e.g. visit the BBC or CAIN websites) that the Black and Tans were a brutal and oppressive irregular force sent to put down the rebellion. The IRA reacted with similar brutality. The film records both with equally graphic scenes. But that is only the first half of the film. The second half deals with the civil war. That's even more tragic and brutal.
Who was on the right side or the wrong side? The film presents the arguments but I really don't think the film takes sides. More of the anti British and anti treaty argument is advanced. But this is understandable because it is historically accurate that West Cost was ferociously anti British and mainly anti treaty. That's why Michael Collins was destined to die there. And it is more important to understand why people/nations go to war or civil war rather than why they don't.
Understanding the reasons does not mean support for war. The film highlights the futility and awfulness of war. Misery destruction and death. Is there such a thing as a just war (apart from 2nd World war)? Aside from the historical debate, the story, filming and acting is magnificent. Much better than the Green Berets on the just war by USA in Vietnam! Blackhawk Down brilliantly covered Somalia from the external US perspective. This film brilliantly covers the 1920/21 wars from the Irish perspective. We need all perspectives.
Well worth seeing with an open mind. Then read the history if you want.
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