“uniquely ugly, tragic and dysfunctional..”

In the Independent David McKittrick notes the competing republican claims to the image of Bobby Sands, and an Observer report last week added comments from Richard O’Rawe and Jeffrey Donaldson. Steve McQueen, the director of Hunger, premiered at Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, is firm in his view in this Reuters report

McQueen said the only controversy surrounding “Hunger” was one created by the media. “If anyone comes out of there thinking that I’m thinking that Bobby Sands is a martyr should basically watch the film again and look and listen,” he told Reuters in an interview.

The BBC also provides a short interview with the debut director along with some clips from the film, but it’s Peter Bradshaw’s 4-star review which caught my eye, in particular the reference to hatred.

Hunger is extreme cinema for an extreme subject. It is outstandingly made; long wordless sequences are composed with judgment and flair and expository dialogue scenes are confidently positioned. It surely confirms McQueen as a real film-maker.

The full nauseous horror of the dirty protest is unflinchingly addressed by McQueen’s camera. There are long, unhurried shots of the endless prison corridor, with swags of urine seeping from under each cell door. You can feel the prisoners breeding their hate and rage like bacilli in a gigantic Petri dish. The scenes of brutality are almost unwatchable.

Hunger is raw, powerful film-making and an urgent reminder of this uniquely ugly, tragic and dysfunctional period in British and Irish history.

Update Cannes agrees, with Steve McQueen winning the Camera d’Or for first-time film-makers.

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  • Belfast Gonzo

    The director and Channel 4 commissioning editor were last week busy promoting the film in the context of the current ‘war on terror’, happy to compare the Maze to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and Sands to suicide bombers.

    But from what I’ve read and seen elsewhere, the film seems much less simplistic than these intellectually lazy and somewhat facile analogies suggest. I’m actually looking forward to see the film based more on what those not connected with the film have written – odd how self-promoting PR can backfire sometimes.

  • percy

    Can’t see this one coming out at my local fringe movie theatre; unlike “the wind that shakes the barley”
    Do us a favour pete and keep your eye out for where and when this might be released on the archipelago of these islands, if I can put it that way, so as not to upset anyone.

  • moochin Photoman

    I dare say the the QFT will show it.

  • Gregory

    “I dare say the the QFT will show it.”

    I want the QFT name changed to something less homophobic. In my own way I can’t quite break free of my résumé of sexual radicalism.

    “the wind that shakes the barley”

    I was actually asked about the ‘Tocadero gang’ in London who orchestrated a lot of the burning in Ireland.

    I’ve only vague indoctribation memories of this supplied at an age when I wasn’t a competent witness ( 5 or 6).

    The remembered deal is that they were a shower of psycho wastrels, drunk on post WWI mental stuff who were basically up for a riot.

    I think they were auxiliaries, anybody know anything about them?

    G

  • Gregory

    “The robbers, dubbed by the media the”Trocadero gang”, as they would meet up atPiccadilly’s Trocadero Centre at weekends,numbered between six and 25. They movedaround the capital on public transportcommitting opportunist robberies on trains,the Tube, buses and trams, as well as in the streets”

    Same deal but in the 1920s.

    G.

  • Pete Baker

    “But from what I’ve read and seen elsewhere, the film seems much less simplistic than these intellectually lazy and somewhat facile analogies suggest.”

    Indeed, Gonzo.

    And a 4-star Bradshaw review is as good a recommendation to seek out the film as I can think of.

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh dear, “The Wind that Shook the Barley” didn’t you ever see such drivel?

  • Gregory

    The movie reflected ‘the sense of self’ of nationalist Ireland,

    it just didn’t tell you about the IRA murdering women, or burying Brits up to their neck on the shoreline, to await the tide.

    or the IRA burning Sinn Fein premises (that last bit would be confusing for a modern audience)

    The Tan war was fought the same way they would go on to kill Erskine Childers et aliaia, they were not that gentlemanly,

    On the other side, some Tans were head cases who loved every minute of it,

    war can be like that, wild, romantic, incendiary, even cruel, or very nasty.

  • God Almighty

    Gregory – rather amazingly, you are single handedly making Slugger unreadible.

    G.

  • Steve

    I dunno almighty its like seeing through the looking glass into the heart of mental instability. Watching the mind fluctuate from near clarity to bizarre unconnected thoughts and statements.

    I would think a psychology student would find it interesting and perhaps by mapping the timing of his posts could create a timeline that might help researchers understand its progress

  • RepublicanStones

    Im sure it’ll be worth a watch. Anyone yet managed to see that movie ‘King Of Nothing’ ?

    It looks to have great production value (snigger).

    http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=uOYMWNTQQMM

  • lucasfilm

    King of Nothing…!!!
    Thanks for that link RS. Laughed out loud. Cheered me up this monday morning. Jesus…..it makes “devils own” look good!!

    “I’m a bad boy..” – classic

  • TAFKABO

    I met Gregory on a another site, you wouldn’t believe the damage he wreaked there.
    Laugh at him as you please, but don’t underestimate his capacity for mischief.

  • Richard O’Rawe

    I’ve nothing at all against Steve McQueen. But he alluded to Bobby not being elected a martyr. Was he not?

  • Pete Baker

    Richard

    “But he alluded to Bobby not being elected a martyr.”

    No. The director of the film said, and I quote,

    “If anyone comes out of there thinking that I’m thinking that Bobby Sands is a martyr should basically watch the film again and look and listen.”

  • Richard O’Rawe

    Pete,

    You seem to reinforce what I’m saying. Is that not so?

  • Pete Baker

    “You seem to reinforce what I’m saying. Is that not so?”

    I think you need to read what you claimed McQueen said against the actual quote again.

    I’ll emphasise it for your benefit

    If anyone comes out of there thinking that I’m thinking that Bobby Sands is a martyr should basically watch the film again and look and listen.”

    Nothing about “being elected” at all.

    The image of being “a martyr” more than likely did assist in Sands’ election. But then the image, compared to the reality, continues to be a matter of some dispute.

  • Gregory

    “Gregory – rather amazingly, you are single handedly making Slugger unreadible. ”

    Because I knew people who fought in the Tan war?

    Well thanks for telling me.

    G.

  • Gregory

    Steve

    I knew a good gaggle of folks who fought in the Tan war.

    the newspapers in the North, often misattributed actions here to the anti-treaty forces.

    For example, the other side ordered the yardies trams in Belfast to be bombed.

    When a pact doesn’t work, blow up a tram of shipyard workers.

    That sort of pro-treaty thing.

    G.

  • Steve

    Greg
    I have read some of your posts that jump around so bizarely that i thought it was my dislexia causing the disconect. But since I have read these posts numerous times under numerous circumstances and they did not make anymore sense the last time than they did the first time i can only assume that the disconect is in your mind not mine.

    You are in need of serious attention, get help before it is too late. Unless it is already too late

  • Penny Wellington

    Gregory, oral histories heard at the knees of actual people who witnessed and made history have always been of immeasurable value to historians. Please do share with us some of what you have heard.

  • Gregory

    Steve

    The movie reflected ‘the sense of self’ of nationalist Ireland, I don’t think that it is there in the same way these days,

    so it probably doesn’t matter. The IRA from the 1920s and 1930s, they wouldn’t recognize the SF of today, they just wouldn’t.

    Thanks for the diagnosis,

    best wishes

    G.

  • Gregory

    http://archives.tcm.ie/kildarenationalist/2007/09/19/story26281.asp

    Irish White Cross.

    The Unionists raised money to help their victims. The latter fund was still in being in the late 1940s.

  • earnan

    Who is playing Sands in this movie? Samuel L. Jackson?

  • picador

    I don’t think it’s appropriate that Steve McQueen play Bobby Sands. Bullit maybe but Bobby Sands!? It just don’t seem right.

  • percy

    Hey great update, sadly this will go under the radar as its a week old.
    Great pity that the update could not itself be reblogged with back-links.