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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Loach rebuts 'anti-British' claim
Ken Loach
Loach's film was supported by the Lottery-funded UK Film Council
Director Ken Loach has dismissed claims his award-winning film The Wind That Shakes The Barley is anti-British.

"Nonsense," he told BBC Breakfast. "We could have shown things that were much worse than are actually in the film."

He also said accusations that his film could be seen as a recruiting tract for the Irish Republican Army were "a cheap shot" and "barely worth answering".

The film, about Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain in the 1920s, has just won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

In Tuesday's edition of the Sun, columnist Harry MacAdam calls The Wind That Shakes The Barley the "most pro-IRA film ever".

Its plot, he continues, is "designed to drag the reputation of our nation through the mud".

'Legendary brutality'

In the Daily Mail, Ruth Dudley Edwards writes that Loach's purpose is to "encourage direct comparisons between the Ireland of 1920-22 and present-day Iraq".

"This, of course, requires the portrayal of the British as sadists and the Irish as romantic, idealistic resistance fighters."

The Wind That Shakes The Barley
The film beat 19 others to the prestigious Palme d'Or award
The film, told entirely from the perspective of its Irish characters, shows British soldiers to be indiscriminately violent.

Loach, however, said this was a true depiction of how the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries behaved.

"Their brutality is legendary - no one would question that," he said.

He added that the film was "about a group of people, mainly young lads, who are fighting to get an army of occupation out of their country".

"You could compare them to the French Resistance and the Partisans in Italy."

Before The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Loach had been nominated for the Palme d'Or seven times.

He won the jury prize in 1990 for Hidden Agenda, a drama about a British army shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland.

Ken Loach on how his film confronts Britain's imperialist past

Loach film wins top Cannes prize
29 May 06 |  Entertainment
Review: The Wind That Shakes The Barley
30 May 06 |  Entertainment
Loach revisits Irish struggle
28 May 06 |  Entertainment
Loach up for Palme d'Or at Cannes
20 Apr 06 |  Entertainment



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