Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
In Derry, Northern Ireland, on 30 January, 1972, British soldiers opened fire on unarmed demonstrators. This dramatic re-enactment takes you into the heart of the unfolding catastrophe. Writer/director Paul Greengrass, a former World in Action documentary maker, centres his film on Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt), a Protestant Derry MP who, inspired by Martin Luther King, organised what was intended to be a peaceful protest against the internment of suspected IRA militants. The failure of peaceful means that day was to prove enduring. Exhaustively researched, the re-enactment involves many of the original participants and draws extensively from Don Mullan’s oral history, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday.
“Paul Greengrass’ hyperrealist re-creation of the 1972 massacre… simply could not have been made or shown in Britain in the 20 years after the events it describes. Because of government and BBC censorship, almost all dissent, indeed almost any debate, on the British presence in Ulster was muzzled until the dawn of the most recent peace process… Bloody Sunday is a scrupulously even-handed account, free of ideological or tribal partisanship… Yet despite the stampeding crowds and the bullets flying overhead, Greengrass achieves a remarkable clarity of exposition, never letting the confusion of events obscure what actually happened… Bloody Sunday is both an admirable reconstruction of terrible events, and a fitting memorial to the dead of that day, and of the thousands thereafter.” — LA Weekly
“A triumph of verité stylization so potent it recalls The Battle of Algiers and even Battleship Potemkin.” — J. Hoberman, Village Voice