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The Wind that Shakes the Barley
By Caroline Planque
Posted April 18, 2007

Set against the backdrop of the 1920s' Ireland fight for independence, The Wind that Shakes the Barley exposes the involvement and commitment of young Irishmen and women to draw the British troops out of their country by any means necessary.

In his historical feature, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year, Ken Loach keeps a respectable distance from his characters, emphasizing political context over individual character development. The film centers around two brothers, Damian and Paddy, who initially fight together against the British but suddenly find themselves in opposite camps following the signature of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. The treaty created an Irish Free State with dominion status within the British Commonwealth. The loyalty to their ideals makes them enemies in their hearts. Hardened by months and months of guerilla fighting, the brothers attempt to reach out to each other in a tragic outcome. Even as Damian faces the ultimate sacrifice neither man feels he can betray the cause he believes in.

Opens at the Varsity Theatre on April 20


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