Hunger (image 1)

These are things that have to be shown rather than written about.

Steve McQueen, The Guardian

Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

Hunger 2007

Directed by Steve McQueen

British artist Steve McQueen's formidable film about IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands is a searching and provocative deliberation of martyrdom. Winner Camera d'Or for the best debut at Cannes this year.

UK In English
96 minutes 35mm / CinemaScope



Enda Walsh
Steve McQueen


Sean Bobbitt


Joe Walker


David Holmes
Leo Abrahams


Michael Fassbender
Liam Cunningham
Stuart Graham
Brian Milligan
Liam McMahon


Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Sydney 2008


Camera d‘Or (Best First Film), Cannes Film Festival 2008
Best Film, Sydney Film Festival 2008


British artist Steve McQueen‘s formidable Hunger is a searching and provocative deliberation of martyrdom. It is astounding that this feature, so assured and effective in its dramatic changes of tone, could be anybody‘s first. Nothing else stood a chance of winning the Camera d‘Or for the best debut at Cannes this year. McQueen has created a triptych, depicting three stages in the experience of Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) whose death from self-imposed starvation remains a disturbing emblem of IRA intransigence. Each part of the film is distinct and masterful in its effect. Part one throws us into Maze Prison and a maelstrom of passive resistance and its violent suppression. Part two is a conversation of the most fluid and persuasive articulacy between Sands and his priest as they debate the repercussions of his planned hunger strike. Part three is an eerily condensed rendering of his physical decline. — BG

"McQueen‘s depiction of the ordeal of Sands and his fellow inmates in the Maze Prison may have the unapologetic overtones of a religious passion, but it‘s a very scrupulous and detached film, as well as an intensely angry one... Hunger is long on images, short on words - except for a masterly extended dialogue between Sands and his priest. Directed with unfailing control, Hunger is an artist‘s film, in the best sense - a sense of intense spareness and resonance." — Jonathan Romney, The Independent

"The film is a British revelation. McQueen is a raw talent with an innate feel for the language of cinema... Hunger escapes narrative convention and transcends politics to become a meditation on the human spirit." — Jason Solomans, The Observer