Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Wind That Shakes the Barley: A Reflection

Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) is a tragic, violent masterpiece. Like Thomas says, below, it is an incredible, historical portrayal of the violence associated with the Irish quest for Independence from Britain. Before watching this movie, I did not know much about the situation in Ireland. Now that I have seen the film, I have a newfound respect for the Irish and a hatred for the British soldiers involved in at least THIS particular series of battles (the battles in the film); just to clarify, I do not intend to generalize and say that all British soldiers (or British in general) are/were terrible, because I cannot rightly say that. In fact, I have some good friends in England.

Although I have always been interested in Ireland (i.e. I would love to visit) and other countries/cultures/languages in general, The Wind That Shakes the Barley pulls that interest to the surface. For instance, at Wabash's Celebration of Student Research, last Friday, I was excited when I realized that there was going to be a presentation on Irish music, and I promptly attended it. The presenter spoke about Irish independence as a major theme in Irish music, and this was captivating to me. The song "Zombie," by The Cranberries, was particularly interesting, focusing on the beating of an Irishman (a teenager, I think) by British men; I learned that the song brought a moment of peace to Britain and Ireland and that everyone seems to want the war to be over. I admit that the first time I ever heard this song on the radio, I immediately changed the station. I did not understand the song or its context, and the characteristic ornamentation of Irish music was peculiar and uninteresting to me (also, I was quite young at the time). Lastly, I did not even realize that the song was performed by an Irish band! Thus, not only did The Wind That Shakes the Barley convince me to attend a presentation on Irish music, it also convinced me to rethink a song that had been erased from my memory, an indictment of British violence toward the Irish. What a powerful and informative film! It definitely goes in my "must buy" list.


Roger Market said...

Like the bloggers before, I was unsure how to begin this post. I tried to mention the historical aspect of the film, while reviewing it at the same time (without giving anything away, for those out there who haven't seen it) and relating it to my own experiences with all things Irish. As one can see, the film definitely had an impact on me, as it influenced the way I look at Ireland, Britain, and music. One thing's for sure, I will probably end up doing some research on Irish independence at some point, and I'll be on the lookout for Irish movies and music. So...on to the next film, please!

Roger Market said...

Okay, maybe I was wrong. In the music video, it is a young child who dies.


Lyrics, if you're interested: