In his victory speech at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, having won the prestigious Palme d'Or award for best film for the Irish war of independence drama, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, director Ken Loach declared: “Our film is a little step in the British confronting their imperialist history. Maybe if we tell the truth about the past we can tell the truth about the present.” This offers a neat summary of a central aim of radical history and indicates Loach's belief that one's view of the past is always framed by how one views the present. His framing of the Irish revolution in clear anti-imperialist and class terms provoked anger and criticism in Ireland and Britain, which was exacerbated by the film's popular success. This reflection offers a brief overview of the Irish revolution, incorporating comments on the portrayal of various revolutionary issues and episodes in The Wind That Shakes the Barley followed by a discussion on its radical treatment of this period of Irish history in the context of some of the popular and academic critical reaction to the film.

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