The Wind That Shakes the Barley (film)
Overview
 
The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war
War film
War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

 drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 directed by Ken Loach
Ken Loach
Kenneth "Ken" Loach is a Palme D'Or winning English film and television director.He is known for his naturalistic, social realist directing style and for his socialist beliefs, which are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as homelessness , labour rights and child abuse at the...

, set during the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

 (1919–1921) and the Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 (1922–1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty is a Scottish lawyer and scriptwriter.-Birth and early career:Paul Laverty was born in Calcutta, India, to an Irish mother and Scottish father. He obtained a Philosophy degree at the Gregorian University in Rome...

, this drama tells the story of two County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

 brothers, Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy is an Irish film and theatre actor. He is often noted by critics for his chameleonic performances in diverse roles and distinctive blue eyes and general sex appeal....

) and Teddy O'Donovan (Pádraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney is an Irish actor best known for playing Teddy O'Donovan in the Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, for which he earned an IFTA nomination as well as being named Irish Shooting Star for the 2007 Berlin Film Festival...

), who join the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. It takes its title from the song "The Wind That Shakes the Barley
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is an Irish ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce , a Limerick-born poet and professor of English literature. The song is written from the perspective of a doomed young Wexford rebel who is about to sacrifice his relationship with his loved one and plunge into the...

".

Widely praised, the film won the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival
2006 Cannes Film Festival
The 2006 Cannes Film Festival ran from May 17, 2006 to May 28, 2006. Twenty films from eleven countries were in competition for the Palme d'Or. The President of the Official Jury was Wong Kar-wai, the first Chinese director to preside over the jury....

.
Encyclopedia
The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 Irish war
War film
War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

 drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 directed by Ken Loach
Ken Loach
Kenneth "Ken" Loach is a Palme D'Or winning English film and television director.He is known for his naturalistic, social realist directing style and for his socialist beliefs, which are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as homelessness , labour rights and child abuse at the...

, set during the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

 (1919–1921) and the Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 (1922–1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty is a Scottish lawyer and scriptwriter.-Birth and early career:Paul Laverty was born in Calcutta, India, to an Irish mother and Scottish father. He obtained a Philosophy degree at the Gregorian University in Rome...

, this drama tells the story of two County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

 brothers, Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy is an Irish film and theatre actor. He is often noted by critics for his chameleonic performances in diverse roles and distinctive blue eyes and general sex appeal....

) and Teddy O'Donovan (Pádraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney is an Irish actor best known for playing Teddy O'Donovan in the Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, for which he earned an IFTA nomination as well as being named Irish Shooting Star for the 2007 Berlin Film Festival...

), who join the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. It takes its title from the song "The Wind That Shakes the Barley
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is an Irish ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce , a Limerick-born poet and professor of English literature. The song is written from the perspective of a doomed young Wexford rebel who is about to sacrifice his relationship with his loved one and plunge into the...

".

Widely praised, the film won the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival
2006 Cannes Film Festival
The 2006 Cannes Film Festival ran from May 17, 2006 to May 28, 2006. Twenty films from eleven countries were in competition for the Palme d'Or. The President of the Official Jury was Wong Kar-wai, the first Chinese director to preside over the jury....

. Loach's biggest box office success to date, the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film
Independent film
An independent film, or indie film, is a professional film production resulting in a feature film that is produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system. In addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies, independent films are also produced...

 ever, until the record was broken by The Guard in 2011.

Plot

The film opens in 1920 as Damien O'Donovan (Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy is an Irish film and theatre actor. He is often noted by critics for his chameleonic performances in diverse roles and distinctive blue eyes and general sex appeal....

), a young doctor, is about to leave Ireland to work in a London hospital. His brother Teddy (Pádraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney is an Irish actor best known for playing Teddy O'Donovan in the Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, for which he earned an IFTA nomination as well as being named Irish Shooting Star for the 2007 Berlin Film Festival...

) commands the local flying column
Flying column
A flying column is a small, independent, military land unit capable of rapid mobility and usually composed of all arms. It is often an ad hoc unit, formed during the course of operations....

 of the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

. After a hurling
Hurling
Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, and played with sticks called hurleys and a ball called a sliotar. Hurling is the national game of Ireland. The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for at least 3,000 years, and...

 match, Damien witnesses the fatal beating of his friend, Micheál Ó Súilleabháin, by British Black and Tans
Black and Tans
The Black and Tans was one of two newly recruited bodies, composed largely of British World War I veterans, employed by the Royal Irish Constabulary as Temporary Constables from 1920 to 1921 to suppress revolution in Ireland...

. Damien rebuffs his friends' entreaties to stay in Ireland and fight for independence from Britain, saying that the IRA is too outnumbered to win. As he is leaving town, Damien witnesses British soldiers beating a railway guard
Conductor (transportation)
A conductor is a member of a railway train's crew that is responsible for operational and safety duties that do not involve the actual operation of the train. The title of conductor is most associated with railway operations in North America, but the role of conductor is common to railways...

 for refusing to allow the troops to board, as well as the subsequent resistance of the train driver (Liam Cunningham). Damien decides to stay and joins Teddy's IRA brigade.

In retaliation for Micheál's murder, the brigade raids the local Royal Irish Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary
The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

 barracks for guns, then uses them to assassinate four British Auxiliaries
Auxiliary Division
The Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary , generally known as the Auxiliaries or Auxies, was a paramilitary organization within the Royal Irish Constabulary during the Irish War of Independence....

. In the aftermath, Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish was a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy, mostly belonging to the Church of Ireland, which was the established church of Ireland until...

 landowner Sir John Hamilton (Roger Allam
Roger Allam
Roger Allam is an English actor, known primarily for his stage career, although he has performed in film and television. He played Inspector Javert in the original London production of the stage musical Les Misérables....

) coerces one of his servants, IRA member Chris Reilly (John Crean), into passing information to the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 Intelligence Corps. As a result, the entire brigade is taken prisoner. In their cell, Damien meets the train driver, Dan, a union organizer who shares Damien's Marxist views. Meanwhile, British officers interrogate Teddy, pulling out his fingernails when he refuses to name names. Later, Johnny Gogan (William Ruane), an Irish-Scots
Irish-Scots
Irish-Scots are people who live in Scotland who are of immediate or traceably distinct Irish ancestry. Although migration between Ireland and Scotland has an established history owing to their close proximity, Irish migration to Scotland increased exponentially in the nineteenth century, and was...

 soldier in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

, helps all but three of the prisoners escape. After the actions of Sir John and Chris are revealed to the IRA, both are taken hostage. As Teddy is still recovering, Damien is temporarily placed in command. News arrives that the three remaining IRA prisoners have been tortured and shot. Therefore, the brigade receives orders to execute Sir John and Chris. Despite the fact that Chris is a lifelong friend, a shattered Damien summarily executes
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

 both him and Sir John. Later, Damien tells his sweetheart, Cumann na mBan
Cumann na mBan
Cumann na mBan is an Irish republican women's paramilitary organisation formed in Dublin on 2 April 1914 as an auxiliary of the Irish Volunteers...

 courier Sinéad Sullivan (Orla Fitzgerald
Orla Fitzgerald
Orla Fitzgerald is an Irish actress.She received two nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Breakthrough Artist at the 4th annual Irish Film and Television Awards for her work in The Wind That Shakes the Barley.She was also nominated for Best Actress at the Stage Awards for the Edinburgh...

), about the shame of facing Chris's mother. After the IRA ambushes and defeats an armed convoy of the Auxiliary Division, another detachment of Auxiliaries loots and burns the farmhouse of Sinéad's family in retaliation. Sinéad is held at gunpoint while her head is shaved. Later, as Damien comforts her, a messenger arrives with news of a formal ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 between Britain and the IRA. While the village celebrates, Damien and Sinéad steal away for a romantic interlude.

When the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 are announced, the IRA divides over whether or not to accept it, as it only grants Ireland Dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 status. Teddy and his allies argue that accepting the Treaty will bring peace now while further gains can be made later. Others within the Brigade oppose the Treaty, proposing to continue the war until complete full independence can be obtained. Dan and Damien further argue in favor of the collectivisation of industry and agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. Any other course, declares Dan, will change only, "the accents of the powerful and the colour of the flag." Not all Anti-Treaty Republicans are depicted as agreeing, however. Later, as the new Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 replaces British rule, Teddy and his allies begin patrolling in Irish Army
Irish Army
The Irish Army, officially named simply the Army is the main branch of the Defence Forces of Ireland. Approximately 8,500 men and women serve in the Irish Army, divided into three infantry Brigades...

 uniforms. Meanwhile, Damien and his Anti-Treaty comrades feel betrayed and join the Anti-Treaty IRA. After the Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 breaks out, Damien and Dan's column begins a guerilla war against the new Irish Army. As the violence between the two sides escalates, Teddy expresses fear that the British will return if the Free State fails to solve the problem on its own. As a result, he decrees, "They take one out, we take one back. To hell with the courts." Teddy's vigilante
Vigilante
A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker....

 attitude was foreshadowed in his earlier response to a verdict of the Dáil Court
Dáil Courts
During the Irish War of Independence, the Dáil Courts were the judicial branch of government of the short-lived Irish Republic. They were formally established by a decree of the First Dáil Éireann on 29 June 1920, replacing more limited Arbitration Courts that had been authorised a year earlier...

.

Ultimately, Dan is killed and Damien is captured during a raid for arms on a Free State barracks commanded by Teddy. Sentenced to death, Damien is held in the same cell where the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 imprisoned them earlier. Hoping to avoid executing his brother, Teddy pleads with Damien to reveal where the IRA is hiding the stolen rifles, offering him full amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 and the vision of a life with Sinéad. Damien responds, "I shot Chris Reilly in the heart. I did that. You know why? I am not going to sell out." Devastated, Teddy leaves the cell in tears.

Writing a goodbye letter to Sinéad, Damien declares his love for her, saying that he knows what he stands for and is not afraid. At dawn, Damien is marched before a firing squad. As both brothers fight back tears, Teddy gives the order, the squad fires, and Damien crumples to the ground. That afternoon, Teddy delivers Damien's letter to Sinéad. Enraged and heartbroken, she flails uselessly against Teddy, then orders him off her land. She falls to her knees mourning Damien, while Teddy walks away.

Cast

  • Cillian Murphy
    Cillian Murphy
    Cillian Murphy is an Irish film and theatre actor. He is often noted by critics for his chameleonic performances in diverse roles and distinctive blue eyes and general sex appeal....

     - Damien O'Donovan
  • Pádraic Delaney
    Pádraic Delaney
    Pádraic Delaney is an Irish actor best known for playing Teddy O'Donovan in the Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, for which he earned an IFTA nomination as well as being named Irish Shooting Star for the 2007 Berlin Film Festival...

     - Teddy O'Donovan
  • Liam Cunningham - Dan
  • Orla Fitzgerald
    Orla Fitzgerald
    Orla Fitzgerald is an Irish actress.She received two nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Breakthrough Artist at the 4th annual Irish Film and Television Awards for her work in The Wind That Shakes the Barley.She was also nominated for Best Actress at the Stage Awards for the Edinburgh...

     - Sinéad Ní Shúilleabháin
  • Laurence Barry - Micheál Ó Súilleabháin
  • Mary Murphy
    Mary Murphy (actress)
    Mary Murphy was an American film actress of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. She was born in Washington, D.C. and spent most of her early childhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, James Victor Murphy, died in 1940. Shortly afterwards, she and her mother moved to Southern California...

     - Bernadette
  • Mary O'Riordan - Peggy
  • Myles Horgan - Rory
  • Martin Lucey - Congo
  • Roger Allam
    Roger Allam
    Roger Allam is an English actor, known primarily for his stage career, although he has performed in film and television. He played Inspector Javert in the original London production of the stage musical Les Misérables....

     - Sir John Hamilton
  • John Crean - Chris Reilly
  • Damien Kearney - Finbar
  • Frank Bourke - Leo
  • Shane Casey
    Shane Casey
    Shane Casey is an Irish sportsperson. He plays hurling with his local club Dunhill and with the Waterford senior inter-county team.-Club:...

     - Kevin
  • Máirtín de Cógáin - Sean
  • William Ruane - Johnny Gogan
  • Fiona Lawton - Lily
  • Sean McGinley
    Seán McGinley
    Seán McGinley is an Irish film and television actor.-Early life:McGinley was born in Pettigo, County Donegal, Ireland where his father was a customs officer, and raised in nearby Ballyshannon...

     - Father Denis
  • Kevin O'Brien - Tim

Production

The film stars mostly Irish actors and was made by British director Ken Loach
Ken Loach
Kenneth "Ken" Loach is a Palme D'Or winning English film and television director.He is known for his naturalistic, social realist directing style and for his socialist beliefs, which are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as homelessness , labour rights and child abuse at the...

. It is an international co-production
International co-production
An international co-production is a production where two or more different production companies are working together, for example in a film production...

 between companies in Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, and Switzerland.

The title derives from the song of the same name, "The Wind That Shakes the Barley
The Wind That Shakes the Barley (song)
"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is an Irish ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce , a Limerick-born poet and professor of English literature. The song is written from the perspective of a doomed young Wexford rebel who is about to sacrifice his relationship with his loved one and plunge into the...

," by 19th-century author Robert Dwyer Joyce
Robert Dwyer Joyce
Robert Dwyer Joyce was an Irish poet, writer, and collector of traditional Irish music.-Life:He was born in County Limerick, Ireland, where his parents, Garret Joyce and Elizabeth O'Dwyer, lived in the northern foothills of the Ballyhoura Mountains, west of Ballyorgan...

. The song made the phrase "the wind that shakes the barley" a motif in Irish Republican
Irish Republicanism
Irish republicanism is an ideology based on the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic.In 1801, under the Act of Union, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 song and poetry. Loach took some of the inspiration for Damian's character from the memoirs of Irish Republican leader Ernie O'Malley
Ernie O'Malley
Ernie O'Malley was an Irish Republican Army officer during the Irish War of Independence and a commander of the anti-treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War. O'Malley wrote three books, On Another Man's Wound, The Singing Flame, and Raids and Rallies. The first describes his early life and role in...

. University College Cork historian Donal O Drisceoil was Loach's historical adviser on the film.

The film was shot in various towns within County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

 during 2005, including Ballyvorney and Timoleague
Timoleague
Timoleague is a village in the eastern division of Carbery East in County Cork, Ireland, located along Ireland's southern coast near Courtmacsherry. It is about south of Bandon and from Cork on the R600 coastal road.-History:...

. Some filming took place in Bandon, County Cork
Bandon, County Cork
Bandon is a town in County Cork, Ireland. With a population of 5,822 as of census 2006, Bandon lies on the River Bandon between two hills. The name in Irish means "Bridge of the Bandon", a reference to the origin of the town as a crossing-point on the river. In 2004 Bandon celebrated its...

: a scene was shot along North Main Street and outside a building next to the Court House. The ambush scene was shot on the mountains around Ballyvorney while the farmhouse scenes were filmed in Coolea. Damien's execution scene was shot at Cork City Gaol.

Many of the extras in the film were drawn from local Scout
Scouting Ireland
Scouting Ireland is the World Organization of the Scout Movement-recognised Scouting association in the Republic of Ireland, although it also has Scout Groups in Northern Ireland. Scouting Ireland is a voluntary, non-formal educational movement for young people...

 groups, including Bandon, Togher and Macroom
Macroom
Macroom is a market town in Ireland located in a valley on the River Sullane, a tributary of the River Lee, between Cork and Killarney. It is one of the key gateways to the tourist region of West Cork. The town recorded a population on 3,553 in the 2006 national census...

 with veteran Scouter Martin Thompson in an important role. Many of the British Soldiers seen in the film were played by members of the Irish Army Reserve
Irish Army Reserve
The Army Reserve is the land component of the Reserve Defence Forces . It is the second line reserve of the Army. The Army Reserve is a part-time, fully voluntary organisation, and is one of two elements of the Reserve Defence Forces of Ireland, the other element being the Naval Service Reserve.It...

, from local units.

Among the songs on the film's soundtrack is "Oró Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile
Oró Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile
Óró, Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile is a traditional Irish song, that came to be known as an Irish rebel song in the early 20th century.-History:...

", a 17th century Irish Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 song whose lyrics the nationalist leader Pádraig Pearse changed to focus upon Republican themes.

Distribution

The commercial interest expressed in Great Britain was initially much lower than in other European countries and only 30 prints of the film were planned for distribution in Britain, compared with 300 in France. However, after the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 award the film appeared on 105 screens acrossGreat Britain and Northern Ireland.
The RESPECT political party, of which Ken Loach is on the national council, called for people to watch the film on its first weekend in order to persuade the film industry to show the film in more cinemas.

Themes

According to director Ken Loach
Ken Loach
Kenneth "Ken" Loach is a Palme D'Or winning English film and television director.He is known for his naturalistic, social realist directing style and for his socialist beliefs, which are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as homelessness , labour rights and child abuse at the...

, the film attempts to explore the extent that the Irish revolution was a social revolution
Social revolution
The term social revolution may have different connotations depending on the speaker.In the Trotskyist movement, the term "social revolution" refers to an upheaval in which existing property relations are smashed...

 as opposed to a nationalist revolution. Mr. Loach commented on this theme in an interview with Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

’s Eye Weekly
Eye Weekly
Eye Weekly was a free weekly newspaper published in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was owned by Torstar, the parent company of the Toronto Star, and was published by their Star Media Group until its final issue on May 5, 2011. The following week, Torstar launched a successor publication, The Grid.-...

 (March 15, 2007):
"Every time a colony wants independence, the questions on the agenda are: a) how do you get the imperialists out, and b) what kind of society do you build? There are usually the bourgeois nationalists who say, 'Let's just change the flag and keep everything as it was.' Then there are the revolutionaries who say, 'Let's change the property laws.' It's always a critical moment."


According to Rebecca O'Brien, producer of the film and a longtime Loach collaborator,
"It's about the civil war in microcosm... It's not a story like Michael Collins
Michael Collins (film)
Michael Collins is a 1996 historical biopic written and directed by Neil Jordan and starring Liam Neeson as General Michael Collins, the Irish patriot and revolutionary who died in the Irish Civil War. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival....

. It's not seeking that sort of biographical accuracy, but rather will express the themes of the period. This is the core of the later Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

, which is why it's so fascinating to make."


In an internet review written for About.com
About.com
About.com is an online source for original information and advice. It is written in English, and is aimed primarily at North Americans. It is owned by The New York Times Company....

, Marcy Dermansky praised the film, saying,
"Loach explores big questions. How does killing a man in cold blood change a person? (Answer: not for the better.) Do the means justify the ends
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

, even when it means killing your friends and family in the name of liberation? (Answer: there is no easy answer.) War is hell, and in no way does The Wind That Shakes the Barley glorify it."

Reception

The film got a positive reaction from film critics. As of 5 January 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 reported that 88% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 102 reviews. Metacritic
Metacritic
Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...

 reported the film had an average score of 82 out of 100, based on 30 reviews.

The Daily Telegraphs film critic described it as a "brave, gripping drama" and said that director Loach was "part of a noble and very English tradition of dissent". A Times film critic said that the film showed Loach "at his creative and inflammatory best", and rated it as 4 out of 5. The Daily Record
Daily Record (Scotland)
The Daily Record is a Scottish tabloid newspaper based in Glasgow. It had been the best-selling daily paper in Scotland for many years with a paid circulation in August 2011 of 307,794 . It is now outsold by its arch-rival the Scottish Sun which in September 2010 had a circulation of 339,586 in...

 of Scotland gave it a positive review (4 out of 5), describing it as "a dramatic, thought-provoking, gripping tale that, at the very least, encourages audiences to question what has been passed down in dusty history books."

Michael Sragow of The Baltimore Sun
The Baltimore Sun
The Baltimore Sun is the U.S. state of Maryland’s largest general circulation daily newspaper and provides coverage of local and regional news, events, issues, people, and industries....

 named it the 5th best film of 2007, and Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

 named it the 7th best film of 2007.

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 gave the film a 4 star review, calling it "breathtakingly authentic", and declared it ranked "among the best war films ever made."

The film was attacked by some commentators, some of whom had not seen it, including Simon Heffer
Simon Heffer
Simon James Heffer is a British journalist, columnist and writer.-Education:Heffer was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.-Career:...

. Following the Cannes prize announcement, Irish historian Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote in the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

 on 30 May 2006 that Loach's political viewpoint "requires the portrayal of the British as sadists and the Irish as romantic, idealistic resistance fighters who take to violence only because there is no other self-respecting course," and attacked his career in an article that Loach criticized as inaccurate. The following week, Edwards continued her attack in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, admitting that her first article was written without seeing the film (which at that stage had only been shown at Cannes), and asserting that she would never see it "because I can't stand its sheer predictability." One day after Edwards' initial article appeared, Tim Luckhurst
Tim Luckhurst
Tim Luckhurst is Professor of Journalism at the University of Kent, and the founding head of the university's Centre for Journalism . He is best known as a former editor of The Scotsman...

 of The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

 called the film a "poisonously anti-British corruption of the history of the war of Irish independence" and went so far as to compare Loach to Nazi propagandist director Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl
Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl was a German film director, actress and dancer widely noted for her aesthetics and innovations as a filmmaker. Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens , a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party...

. Yet George Monbiot
George Monbiot
George Joshua Richard Monbiot is an English writer, known for his environmental and political activism. He lives in Machynlleth, Wales, writes a weekly column for The Guardian, and is the author of a number of books, including Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain and Bring on the...

 revealed on 6 June, also in The Guardian, that the production company had no record of Luckhurst having attended a critics' screening of the as-yet unreleased film, and Luckhurst refused to comment. In a generally positive review, the Irish historian Brian Hanley suggested that the film might have dealt with the IRA's relationship with the Protestant community, as one scene in its screenplay did.

One strain of commentary in Ireland examined the Irish War of Independence as a socialist or class-based conflict, as well as a nationalist uprising. The film has also re-generated debate on rival interpretations of Irish history.

Awards and nominations

Awards
Award Category Name Outcome
British Independent Film Awards
British Independent Film Awards
The Moët British Independent Film Awards is an annual award ceremony celebrating achievement in independently funded British film and cinema. Nominations and jury are announced at the beginning of November with the award ceremony taking place in late November or early December.-History:The British...

Best Actor Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy is an Irish film and theatre actor. He is often noted by critics for his chameleonic performances in diverse roles and distinctive blue eyes and general sex appeal....

Best British Independent Film
Best Director Ken Loach
Ken Loach
Kenneth "Ken" Loach is a Palme D'Or winning English film and television director.He is known for his naturalistic, social realist directing style and for his socialist beliefs, which are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as homelessness , labour rights and child abuse at the...

Best Technical Achievement Barry Ackroyd
Barry Ackroyd
Barry Ackroyd BSC is an English cinematographer. Ackroyd frequently works with British film director, Ken Loach. The two filmmakers are known for their anti-Hollywood, naturalistic, neo-realistic cinematographic style.-Life and career:...

Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

Ken Loach
European Film Awards Best Cinematographer Barry Ackroyd
Best Actor
European Film Award for Best Actor
-1980s:-1990s:-2000s:-2010s:-External links:*...

Cillian Murphy
Best Director
European Film Award for Best Director
-Winners and nominees:*1988**Wim Wenders - Wings of Desire **Terence Davies - Distant Voices, Still Lives**Louis Malle - Goodbye Children **Manoel de Oliveira - The Cannibals ...

Ken Loach
Best Film
Best Screenwriter Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty
Paul Laverty is a Scottish lawyer and scriptwriter.-Birth and early career:Paul Laverty was born in Calcutta, India, to an Irish mother and Scottish father. He obtained a Philosophy degree at the Gregorian University in Rome...

Goya Awards
Goya Awards
The Goya Awards, known in Spanish as los Premios Goya, are Spain's main national film awards, considered by many in Spain, and internationally, to be the Spanish equivalent of the American Academy Awards....

Best European Film
Goya Award for Best European Film
The Goya Award for Best European Film is one of the Goya Awards, Spain's principal national film awards.-1990s:-2000s:-Awards by nation:-External links:**...

Ken Loach
Irish Film and Television Awards Best Irish Film (Audience Award)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film Liam Cunningham
Liam Cunningham
Liam Cunningham is an Irish actor. He has appeared in numerous film and television productions including A Little Princess, First Knight, Jude and the BBC One science-fiction drama series Outcasts...

Best Film Ken Loach
Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film Cillian Murphy
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film Padraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney
Pádraic Delaney is an Irish actor best known for playing Teddy O'Donovan in the Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, for which he earned an IFTA nomination as well as being named Irish Shooting Star for the 2007 Berlin Film Festival...

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film Orla Fitzgerald
Orla Fitzgerald
Orla Fitzgerald is an Irish actress.She received two nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Breakthrough Artist at the 4th annual Irish Film and Television Awards for her work in The Wind That Shakes the Barley.She was also nominated for Best Actress at the Stage Awards for the Edinburgh...

Breakthrough Talent (actor) Padraic Delaney
Breakthrough Talent (actress) Orla Fitzgerald
London Critics Circle Film Awards
London Film Critics Circle Awards 2006
The 27th Critics' Circle Awards, given by the London Film Critics Circle in February 2007, honoured the best in film for 2006.-Actor of the Year:Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland *Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote...

British Director of the Year Ken Loach
British Film of the Year
British Producer of the Year Rebecca O'Brien
Polish Film Awards
2007 Polish Film Awards
The 2007 Polish Film Awards ran on March 5, 2007 at Teatr Narodowy. It was the 9th edition of Polish Film Awards: Eagles.-Best Film:* Plac Zbawiciela - Krzysztof Krauze, Joanna Kos-Krauze* Jasminum - Jan Jakub Kolski...

Best European Film
Polish Academy Award for Best European Film
The Polish Academy Award for Best European Film is an annual award given to the best European film of the year.-Winners:-See also:* European Film Awards...

Ken Loach
Satellite Awards
Satellite Awards 2006
The 11th Satellite Awards, honoring the best in film- and televisionmaking in 2006, were given on 18 December 2006.-Best Actor - Drama: Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland*Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond*Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson...

Best Original Screenplay
Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
The Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay is an annual award given by the International Press Academy.- 1990s :*1996: Lone Star*1996: The People vs...

Paul Laverty

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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