Presented by the Irish Film Festival
Official Selection: Hot Docs
In the spring of 1981 Irish Republican Bobby Sands' 66-day hunger strike brought the attention of the world to his cause. This documentary powerfully expands on the personal story of Bobby Sands using archive footage, interviews, reconstructions and excerpts from Sands' own evocative prison diary.
When this film screened at the Galway Film Festival last July the post film Q&A almost descended into blows. 35 years have passed and the passion has not abated, nor have the issues discussed in the film faded into irrelevance.
1981 was possibly the year that Northern Ireland came closest to the conflagration of civil war.
This film revolves around the question of when it is morally right to resort to violence to solve a political problem. Were Bobby Sands and his IRA comrades terrorists or freedom fighters? The radicalisation of the young Bobby Sands and the dissection of his decision to follow through on the ultimate act of violence is explored in the film with equanimity and tact.
Bobby Sands is a divisive figure in Irish/UK history but Brendan Byrne's beautifully crafted film sheds light on the question of the 'terrorist/rebel/freedom fighter' label and who gets to apply those labels in today's world.