When Brits get bashed in films, they usually deserve it
Concubhar Ó Liatháin:
I haven't been to see The Wind that Shakes the Barley, the Ken Loach film about Ireland's war to free itself from the brutal grip of British imperialism, yet but, by the end of the week, all things being equal, the deed will be done.
At the outset, I should declare that I have a vested interest in that my mother and father are participants in the movie, a substantial part of it was ‘shot' (oops) around Cúil Aodha, the Gaeltacht village in west Cork from which I hail, last summer.
They're both now enjoying the reflected glory of being part of a Palme d'Or winning movie. A career in Hollywood beckons.
When the news of the Palme d'Or win was announced on Sunday night, the equivalent of the World Cup in movie terms, I thought there would be an all out celebration on the British TV channels which presume to broadcast in Ireland as if the country was part of their ‘nation'.
Yet the news was buried in that evening's BBC news when the announcer mentioned, in passing, as it were, that the British film-maker Ken Loach had won the award for his film ‘chronicling Ireland's fight for independence in the 1920s'.
An accurate if downbeat description of the movie and its great triumph.
If you want to uncover the true attitude of the BBC towards this film, you'd have to read their online review which describes Loach's movie as one of “his weaker films” and laments the decision of the Cannes jury to reward it with the Palme d'Or thus ensuring it “reaches a wider audience”.
Of course the BBC reviewer believes that this is a bad thing because, among the faults he finds with the movie, its script is “one-eyed and unashamedly so” and its aim is political - “to show an occupied country which rises up to throw off the yoke of an occupying army”.
“Such a lack of balance, however, results in a one dimensional script," he enthused. The British are depicted as cardboard cut-out thugs, he feels.
In a quick survey carried out by myself on films in which British forces are featured, the vast majority of movies depicted them as brutish and thuggish.
I'm thinking here of the likes of Braveheart, The Patriot, The Four Feathers and not forgetting Michael Collins.
Has the penny ever dropped with the BBC or other self styled ‘impartial’ British media outlets that the reason for this ‘one-sidedness’ is that British forces were – indeed are – brutes and thugs.
And all the counterpropaganda in the world won’t change that ‘one eyed’ view of things.
I can’t wait to see the film.
I spy with my little eye... stories not quite right