(aka 'Le Vent se lève' or 'Il Vento che accarezza l'erba' or 'El Viento que agita la cebada')

Directed by Ken Loach
UK 2006

 

  ...in watching “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” his new film (which won the top prize at Cannes last year), it is possible to appreciate both Mr. Loach’s passion and his sense of nuance. Set in Ireland in the 1920s, the film paints history in stark colors and observes as they blur and bleed. Mr. Loach and Paul Laverty, the gifted screenwriter with whom he regularly collaborates, leave no doubt as to who the villains are in this tale.

From the start, when they raid an Irish farm, the British irregulars known as the Black and Tans are as brutal and sadistic as Hollywood Nazis. The atrocities they commit have an immediate radicalizing effect on the film’s hero, Damien (Cillian Murphy), who abandons his plans to study medicine in London to join the armed uprising against the British.

Injustice, in Mr. Loach’s world, tends to be a simple matter. It resides in the unprincipled, dehumanizing exercise of power — whether wielded by capital, the state, or an army of occupation — against those who have none. The complications arise, and the arguments start, when the powerless try to fight back.

Brutal as “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” is in depicting British acts of violence, it does not flinch from showing the harsh, sometimes heartless tactics of the Irish Republican Army flying columns. Among the most painful scenes are the executions of an informer and later a landlord, killings that foreshadow a turn from insurrection to civil war.

Radical though he is, Mr. Loach is hardly a romantic, and the deep humanism that informs his best work — a category in which “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” surely belongs — is insulated from sentimentality by the sense that history is a long, bruising fight, a chronicle of compromise and defeat as well as of tentative triumph and provisional hope. He is also, as anyone steeped in the history of the modern left must be, acquainted with the factionalism and disunity that bedevils those who see themselves on the side of the angels.

Excerpt from A. O. Scott's review at the NY Times located HERE
 

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 18th, 2006 - Cannes Film Festival

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

 IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL vs. IFC Films - Region 0 - PAL

Thanks to Per-Olaf Strandberg for the PAL captures!

(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution IFC - Region 1 - NTSC

Fox (UK)

Region 2 - PAL

The week of September 3rd (actually one day prior to the IFC DVD release) a UK company (region 2- PAL) called Sixteen Films will release:

 The Ken Loach Collection Volume 1 (8-disc - Kes, The Gamekeeper, Riff Raff, Raining Stones, Ladybird Ladybird, The Navigators, Bread and Roses and Poor Cow) R2 UK Sixteen Films

The Ken Loach Collection Volume 2 (8-disc - Cathy Come Home, My Name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen, Ae, Fond Kiss, Land and Freedom, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Hidden Agenda and Carla’s Song) R2 UK Sixteen Films

(click covers for link)

     

NOTE: Volume two also contains The Wind That Shakes the Barley although I don't anticipate it looking as good as this IFC edition.

Runtime 2:07:04 2:01:43 (4% PAL speedup)

Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.62 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1:1.78 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)  English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English (CC), Spanish, None English (HoH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: IFC Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by director Ken Loach and historical advisor Prof. Donal O'Driscoll
• Featurette: Carry On Ken: A Look At the Work of Ken Loach (49:06)
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: September 4th, 2007

Double lock standard Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Fox (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1:1.78

Edition Details:
• Disc 1:
• Commentary by director Ken Loach and historical advisor Prof. Donal O'Driscoll
• Disc 2:
• Featurette: Carry On Ken: A Look At the Work of Ken Loach (46:56)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:55)
• Photo gallery

DVD Release Date: 6 Nov 2006
Double keep-case

Chapters 20

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Fox - PAL - August 07': The UK Fox edition is also a two discs job and the image quality still looks fairly identical  - with the Region 1 possibly gaining a small edge in detail. They have the same commentary and same featurette. The PAL edition  has a photo gallery missing in the Region 1 but other than that if you are sensitive to PAL speedup then the IFC is the way to go. Price presently favors the NTSC edition as well.

***

A beautiful image on IFC's dual-layered, anamorphic and progressively transferred DVD. I suspect a lot of that is Barry Ackroyd's tempered cinematography and the lush green County Cork countryside where the film was shot but either way this digital appearance with softly muted colors is very impressive. Detail is strong and digital artifacts are minimal. There are nicely rendered English (close captioned) or Spanish subtitles and an, often untested, 5.1 audio track. As one might anticipate the image is fairly clean - totally free of blemishes of any kind. This image looks and sounds quite flawless.

NOTE: In the same week as the IFC release - Sixteen Films will release:

 The Ken Loach Collection Volume 1 (8-disc - Kes, The Gamekeeper, Riff Raff, Raining Stones, Ladybird Ladybird, The Navigators, Bread and Roses and Poor Cow)

The Ken Loach Collection Volume 2 (8-disc - Cathy Come Home, My Name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen, Ae, Fond Kiss, Land and Freedom, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Hidden Agenda and Carla’s Song).

Supplements include a staggered commentary by director Ken Loach and historical advisor Prof. Donal O'Driscoll (the latter's accent is quite thick but one can get used to it fairly quickly). Loach seems to do the majority of the talking. There are many gaps where the narrative is left to run but when information is imparted it is usually of a historical nature. It seems to run fairly slow and occasionally some production information is discussed. Overall I wouldn't say it's a dynamic commentary though. What I enjoyed more is the 50 minute featurette on Loach, Carry On Ken: A Look At the Work of Ken Loach, starting with his recent Cannes fame and reflecting backward as told by colleagues and friends. Loach gives a lot of input as well and I found it very interesting about a director that I definitely needed to know more about. Finally a 2-minute theatrical trailer is included.

Winner of the Palm D'or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a powerful, impacting film documenting an extraordinary time and some extraordinary people. There are some devastatingly violent scenes and its political content is divisive. Certainly a must-see no matter what. This DVD is strongly recommended - especially at its current price. There is immense value here! 

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



DVD Menus

 

(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)


 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 

 


(IFC Films - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Fox (UK) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution IFC - Region 1 - NTSC

Fox (UK)

Region 2 - PAL

The week of September 3rd (actually one day prior to the IFC DVD release) a UK company (region 2- PAL) called Sixteen Films will release:

 The Ken Loach Collection Volume 1 (8-disc - Kes, The Gamekeeper, Riff Raff, Raining Stones, Ladybird Ladybird, The Navigators, Bread and Roses and Poor Cow) R2 UK Sixteen Films

The Ken Loach Collection Volume 2 (8-disc - Cathy Come Home, My Name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen, Ae, Fond Kiss, Land and Freedom, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Hidden Agenda and Carla’s Song) R2 UK Sixteen Films

(click covers for link)

     

NOTE: Volume two also contains The Wind That Shakes the Barley although I don't anticipate it looking as good as this IFC edition.




 

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