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The Wind that Shakes the Barley
  • The Wind that Shakes the Barley

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THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY
COLONY, GALAXY & CHELSEA CINEMAS—If you're like most people, you have a hazy notion of the Irish revolutionary struggle that occurred in the teens and early 1920s: the Easter Rising, Connelly, de Valera, Michael Collins, the birth of Yeats' "terrible beauty." While the clashing interests are quite ably dramatized in the new film The Wind that Shakes the Barley, director Ken Loach looks also at the human stakes and the price that humans are willing—and unwilling—to pay for their ideals. The film opens in 1920, in an Ireland that is suffering from the presence of the Black and Tans, a division of thugs sent by Britain to terrorize the Irish. Facing this intolerable situation, two well-educated brothers from County Cork, Damien and Teddy (Cillian Murphy, surprisingly credible, and Padráic Delaney), join the Irish Republican Army. Their story takes us through two conflicts: the successful one against British dominion that resulted in the not-so-accurately-named Irish Free State, and then the civil war that followed the peace, when the British shrewdly turned the Irish against themselves. The Wind that Shakes the Barley, which won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, is neither a glorification of the revolutionary struggle nor an anti-war screed. Instead, the violence—against combatants and civilians alike—is presented as dreadful but inevitable, the natural outcome when opposing political interests can not be reconciled. See this week's Film Calendar for showtimes. —David Fellerath

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