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The Wind That Shakes the Barley 15 rating

Ken Loach won the Palme d’Or for this gripping, beautifully filmed account of two Cork brothers who join the struggle for Irish independence in the 1920s.

Drama 2006 122 mins

Director: Ken Loach


After witnessing the death of his friend at the hands of the Black and Tans, Damien (Cillian Murphy) heads to the hills to join the local IRA brigade. But soon after, when the Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed, the group’s unity is threatened by division and the realities of political compromise.

Highly controversial when it was released, Ken Loach’s film was denounced the moment it won Cannes’ top prize by critics (most of whom hadn’t seen it) who imagined it as a British film glorifying Irish republicanism. In fact Loach’s preoccupation is to recast Irish nationalism as a social movement whose progressive ideals were forced to the margins as conflict took precedence. The power of Loach’s film resides in the fact that, unlike other films on the Irish independence, the director focuses on the breath-taking natural beauty of the country they are fighting for.