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.
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1932. Jimmy Gralton is back home in the Irish countryside after ten years of forced exile in the USA. His widowed mother Alice is happy, Jimmy's friends are happy, all the young people who enjoy dancing and singing are happy. Which is not the case of Father Sheridan, the local priest, nor of the village squire, nor of Dennis O'Keefe, the chief of the fascists. The reason is simple: Jimmy is a socialist activist. So when the "intruder" reopens the village hall, thus enabling the villagers to gather to sing, dance, paint, study or box, they take a dim view of the whole thing. People who think and unite are difficult to manipulate, aren't they? From that moment on they will use every means possible to get rid of Jimmy and his "dangerous" hall.Written by
Jimmy's cottage and The Hall could not be built for the film in the location in County Leitrim where they'd originally stood, because there are too many modern buildings in the vicinity. However, a remote location was found in another part of the same county. See more »
Tobacco consumption (cigarettes, snuff and pipes) was extremely widespread at the time, yet none of the characters are seen to smoke, even at raucous social occasions. See more »
We need to take control of our lives again. Work for need, not for greed. And not just to survive like a dog, but to live. And to celebrate. And to dance, to sing, as free human beings.
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During the opening credits, black and white news reel footage of New York in the 1920s, accompanied by jazz music, is shown. See more »
Another superb and deeply political film from Ken Loach
At his best Ken Loach makes films that are as emotionally engaging as any in world cinema and while he has on occasions disappointed, every Ken Loach film is worth seeking out. "Jimmy's Hall" sees him return, in some respects, to the territory he explored in "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" and it is one of his very best films. Again we are back in Ireland but 10 years after the end of the Civil War. Old wounds haven't healed, (they still haven't healed completely to this day), and like "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" the divisions here are much more political than social and almost as violent.
It deals with the very specific conflict between those who opposed the Treaty, those who supported it and the dominating Catholic Church when one, Jimmy Gralton, returns from 10 years exile in America and reopens a community hall that was the source of all his trouble in the first place, against the express wishes of 'Holy Mother Church' and those who backed it.
As scripted by Paul Laverty it is, of course, a deeply political film but Loach is the most humanist of political film-makers; consequently it is also a deeply moving (and, at times, very funny) picture. At its centre is a magnificent performance from Barry Ward as Gralton and he is backed beautifully by Jim Norton and Andrew Scott representing the clergy as well as a host of wonderfully naturalistic Irish actors, some professional, some not. Loach may now be in this seventies but this feels as fresh and as relevant as anything he did fifty years ago. I think it's the equal to both "Land and Freedom" and "The Wind that Shakes the Barley".
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