Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Loach dismisses "anti-British" claims

Well done, sir! Well done to British director Ken Loach who has dismissed claims his award-winning film The Wind That Shakes The Barley is anti-British.

He told BBC Breakfast this was "nonsense" saying:

"We could have shown things that were much worse than are actually in the film."

He also said accusations that his film could be seen as a recruiting tract for the Irish Republican Army were "a cheap shot" and "barely worth answering". The film centres around Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain in the 1920s and also touches on the Civil War which followed. It has just won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

The film, told entirely from the perspective of its Irish characters, shows British soldiers to be indiscriminately violent. Loach, however, said this was a true depiction of how the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries behaved:

"Their brutality is legendary - no one would question that."

He added that the film was "about a group of people, mainly young lads, who are fighting to get an army of occupation out of their country":

"You could compare them to the French Resistance and the Partisans in Italy."

Indeed you could and Mr Roach is right about the Black and Tans as well. I had a teacher from Kerry who once told our class how when he was a boy he saw the Tans break into his home and physically assault his grandmother and grandfather. The Black and Tans were no joke and committed some terrible atrocities in Ireland.

I personally can't wait to see this film but I do hope it's more historically accurate than the Michael Collins film was. I also hope it gives proper credit to the IRA of the early twentieth century as I feel the Old IRA have suffered as a result of later versions who, in my opinion anyway, misappropriated their ideals.

More to the point this film isn't about bashing modern-day Britain or British people. The majority of Irish people are not so stupid that they would lash out at the Britain of today due to decisions made by the Britain of the past.

I actually think we're at an excellent point in time now where we can look back on events like the War of Independence and the Civil War and have a healthy debate on the decisions that were made back then.

If the movie causes debate, and I suspect it will, then it is already doing us all a healthy service.


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