British social realist Ken Loach picked up the Cannes Palme d’Or for this provocative drama set in County Cork between 1920 and 1922, a dangerous period before the outbreak of civil war in Ireland. “Staggeringly powerful… The Wind That Shakes the Barley had more to say about the world of today than any other film screening in Cannes.” — Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Cinema’s most prestigious award, the Cannes Palme d’Or, was awarded this year to a veteran of that Festival, and of this one too: the great stalwart British social realist, Ken Loach. We’re delighted to open the 2006 Festival, so clamorous with films of activism and protest, by celebrating this richly deserved accolade to one of cinema’s most persistent agitators.
“...a provocative drama set in Ireland’s County Cork between 1920 and 1922; that dangerous period that saw the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty in December 1921 and the outbreak of civil war soon afterwards. It was a civil war that pitched brother against brother, as Irish popular history still very much remembers, and it’s this powerful dynamic that Loach adopts as the fulcrum of his film. For Loach, it marks a return to territory last seen in his Spanish Civil War film Land and Freedom. Like that earlier work, The Wind That Shakes the Barley proves to be a moving and intelligent historical play that explores divisions on the left on an intimate level and succeeds in presenting the prevalent ideas of the time without ever losing sight of the personal stories.” — Dave Calhoun, Time Out
“The wars we have seen, the occupations that we see throughout the world – people cannot finally turn away from that. And the fact that this is reflected in cinema is very important for the health of cinema. It’s very exciting to be able to deal with this in films, and not just be a complement to the popcorn. I think the trend is very exciting. It puts cinema at the centre of our lives really.” — Ken Loach, accepting the Palme d’Or, Cannes 2006