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Response Essay the Wind That Shakes the Barley

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The Wind That Shakes The Barley is a great war-drama film about the Irish struggle for independence from the British empire. The film is directed by Ken Loach and stars a cast of great Irish actors including Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, and Orla Fitzgerald. With an excellent filmography, it also won an award at the Cannes film festival in 2006.

Damien O'Donnovan, the main character of the movie, is an educated young medical student who wanted to complete his education abroad. His brother, Teddy O'Donnovan, is a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) with a burning desire for freedom. After witnessing an amount of brutality and immorality of the British Army toward his fellow Irishmen, Damien decided to join his brother and the guys in IRA. The fight for independence cost a lot of damage, including Sinead's (Damien's girlfriend) house being burned, Damien having to kill Chris, one of his childhood friend for the sake of Independence. After a while, truce is being called. British and Irish leaders sign a peace Treaty.

In the film the tragedy unfolds as the two brothers go different ways. Teddy showed up wearing the new Irish Army Uniform. He supported the Treaty which state that Ireland will be given partial economic independence but remain under United Kingdom, whereas Damien wanted to fight until full independence is declared. The film end as Teddy lead the execution of his own brother, Damien. Sinead left with a dead boyfriend and a farewell letter. It ends with grief.

For me, the film is eye opening and heartbreaking at the same time. The scenes of tortures, fighting, and misery is so well crafted in the movie that I found myself shedding tears many times during the movie. The story of the two brothers, how they loved each other so much but could not do anything as the fight for independence (Treaty) mold them into different person. It made me think that war and colonialism is stupid, and that humans could be so inhumane because of such thing. The Wind That Shakes The Barley is a film that deals with a lot of moral issues.

After watching the whole movie, I still didn't quite get what the title has to do with the content of the movie. I did a google search, and apparently the title is based on a traditional Irish ballad by Robert Dwyer Joyce. The poem practically sums up the whole movie.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

(Robert Dwyer Joyce)

I sat within the valley green

I sat me with my true love

My sad heart strove the two between

The old love and the new love

The old for her, the new that made me




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