is a 2008 film about the 1981 Irish hunger strike. It is written by Enda Walsh and Steve McQueen, who also directed. It was made by Blast! Films and commissioned by Channel 4 and Film4. It premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, winning the prestigious Caméra d’Or award for first-time filmmakers. It went on to win the Sydney Film Prize at the Sydney Film Festival, best picture by the Evening Standard British Film Awards, and received 2 BAFTA nominations, winning one. The film was also nominated for 8 awards at the 2009 IFTA’s winning 6 at the event.
Hunger was turned down by the Irish Film Board, but has gone on to be one of the most successful Irish films. The film was co-funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Broadcast Commission of Ireland, Film 4 and the Wales Creative IP Fund.
The film stars Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteer who led the 1981 Irish hunger strike and participated in the no wash protest (led by Brendan “The Dark” Hughes) in which Republican prisoners tried to regain political status. It dramatises events in the Maze prison in the period leading up to the hunger strike and Sands’ death.
17 Comments / User Reviews
I have to say that the majority of people have missed the point of this film. Just reading through the comments, I said to myself how many will I read before I find a political rant. The truth is this film neither is pro IRA, nor does it critise the IRA. This film is about a persons decision to die for something, an idea that he has come to be so consumed by, he denies himself food and let’s himself die. I feel, (and in no way speak for everyone) that the end of the film is very matter of fact, it suggests to the audience the question of what was truly gained from his sacrifice. Being from Belfast myself and asking different people this question, you would receive very conflicting answers.
The director himself said that as a child growing up in England he would hear of this situation continue on the news, about the hunger strikers and never understood why is was happening. He said it was his child like curiosity that brought him to the project.
This film takes no sides, in fact I think it’s fair to say that this film shows you what side you take in this very complicated situation that is thankfully in Ireland’s past.
Bickering about the death and injustice of the innocent doesn’t help anyone, move on people and don’t dirty the water anymore.
il keep it short and sweet , the UK are terrorists just as much as the middle east the only difference is one side uses suicide bombers and the other side uses drone strikes behind closed doors….. humans are disgusting creatures , all we do is kill each other for money and power
Shameful waste 🙁
Lets face it Sands and his collegues were not put in there for failing to pay their tv licence, now were they? They murdered people both protestant and catholic, as well as members of the security forces. Of the 3,466 people murdered in the troubles the provisional ira were responsible for 49 per cent ie. 790 protestants, 338 catholics and 568 people who were not from Northern Ireland ie. More catholics were killed by the ira (the people they were supposed to be protecting) than the British Army’s figure of 258. Lets not forget ‘the disappeared’ ie. people who were kidnapped, tortured and then murdered by the ira and whose bodies have yet to be recovered in order for their families to finally have closuer on the matter. Surely the principle right is ‘the right to live’ and yet the ira deprived more innocent civilian people of that right than anyone else. If the ira were at war then are they not guilty of war crimes under the Geneva Convention? Equally, if they were at war then why did they cry so much if one of their members got killed, or captured. Remember, this film is about terrorists who had been caught and imprisoned after a fair trial. None of their victims got this chance. The prisoners also ‘chose’ to go on hunger strike. None of their victims had the choice to live or die. In the end the command structure of the ira ralised that instead of uniting people ‘the struggle’ was just driving them further apart and called a cease fire and as a result the terrorists have been realisd and are back out with their families – their victims and their families will not have that opportunity. Their pain goes on each and every day and will never end. 9/11 took the glory out of terrorisim for all the world to see.
well all i can say you british asked for it theres only so mush people can take before they snap an if any body learned about the trouble you wound no that the uvf were the first to kill any one the uvf were the first to use the car bomb and they went to far when the burt 100s of catholics homes thats when the pira were formed. and also there wound never be an ira if you british wound just of left us alone. and i hate when people make the british and loyolists community the big victims if you search it up more catholics in my community were killed than protestants.
You people have no way of distinguishing the difference between the IRA of old and the IRA of new. It’s not that easy to target somebody with a bomb without hurting innocent people which is the same excuse britain uses to murder innocent civilians in pretty much every minority country. Britain is a terrorist land who terrorized our people and called them terrorists which is exactly what they are doing to Islamics at the moment, why? because Islamics refused to bow to their pressure just like the Irish did. I’m a proud Irish man and I have to say you british are dirty hypocrits and you will get what you deserve.
Generally I hate slow paced films, but this was extremely interesting. I was born in 92, so I know very little about what happened in Ireland in 1981 and I wished this documentary, in the beginning text, explained a little more what was going on politically. I picked up something about British being in Ireland, trying to run the government, but thats about it.
Maybe becauseI have no historical knowledge on this event, I really appreciated the artsy approach to it. For some reason, I sat through the slower parts, anxious to see what would happen next. Very well edited.
I’ll admit, I originally came for the cute nude men, and stayed for the emotional rollercoaster. Very moving.
@patersonthomson:disqus What also holds no place in the hearts and minds of Irish people is the fact that Margaret Thatcher felt the need to deny political status to a group of political prisoners in wartime conditions. Or the fact that the British government suspended the right of Irish people to fair trails and hearings (Guantamano Bay anyone?) and tortured prisoners.
I also find it strange to discuss a terrorist faction while failing to mention that the British Army murdered people on the streets of Northern Ireland.
Not to excuse IRA actions but to put in perspective that the British Army were supposed to protect people but ended up being just as bad as the IRA.
I watched this film when it was first released, & being from Northern Ireland, I have to say that most people detested the actions of the IRA. Although this film is in no way glamorous, it does seem to side with the terrorist faction. When Omagh was bombed, Catholics, protestants & children where killed, so I am afraid `Bobby Sands` the martyr holds no place in the hearts & minds of most Northern Irish people.
Could you look up the word ‘terrorist’ in the dictionary please. You will find that it is a new word constructed by super powers to undermine minority nations. and being from Dublin,IRA killing innocent people by bombs in the northern part of IRELAND and ENGLAND is not in my ‘proud to be irish’ statements.
If you are really from NI you should have known that the bombing of Omagh was the work of Real IRA and not of Provisional IRA!! Bobby Sands died 17 years before Omagh so what are u talkin’ about???
It’s not really a documentary is it?
I’ve got two other documentaries to watch later, one is called CALIGULA, the other called PASSION OF CHRIST.
The film is pretty terrible. Apart from a couple of soundbites from Thatcher in the middle, there is nothing else to link it to the Northern Ireland Hunger Strikers. There is absolutely ZERO educational value and in my opinion, zero entertainment value (unless you like 3 minute scenes of someone mopping a floor???)
free bobby sands
Bobby Sands is dead. 1954-1981. (The original pathologist’s report recorded Sands’ and the other hunger strikers’ causes of death as “self-imposed starvation”, later amended to simply “starvation”)