Bobby Sands Began His Hunger Strike Today... Steve McQueen's 'Hunger' Retells The Tale

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 1, 2013 11:17 AM
5 Comments
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Today in history... March 1st, 1981, IRA (Irish Republican Army) member Bobby Sands begins a hunger strike at Northern Ireland's Maze prison. He died 2 months later behind bars, on the 66th day of his hunger strike.

Fast-forward to 2008... Black British filmmaker Steve McQueen’s debut feature film, Hunger, laconically, dramatically and harrowingly reconstructs the imprisonment of Bobby Sands and his multi-week long hunger strike.

Michael Fassbender stars in the film, which, by the way, is now available in Netflix's Instant Watch streaming library. So you can watch the critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning film this very minute (with a basic Netflix account), within 2 or 3 clicks of your mouse or touch-pad.

So, do it!!

Call it a deeply disturbing sensory experience, and a wonderful introduction to Steve McQueen's general cinematic style and proclivities, as you prepare for what will likely be another deeply disturbing sensory experience when his Twelve Years A Slave opens later this year.

The film also received the Criterion Collection treatment on DVD and Blu-ray.

And when you're done, if you haven't seen it either, watch his second film, Shame, which isn't streaming on Netflix, but is definitely available on DVD and Blu-ray.

After you watch both, that should help prepare you for what's to come. Maybe not entirely, but close enough.

A trailer for Hunger follows below:


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5 Comments

  • john dunbar | March 14, 2013 8:22 AMReply

    The most important message of this film was that it revealed the extent of British barbarism in its continuing intervention in Irish affairs. They were ENTIRELY responsible for all the problems of the Irish because of their invasion in the fifteenth century which introduced Protestantism and English land owners and landlords to the Irish who otherwise would have drifted on, who knows how successfully, through the next 500 years. The English always claimed that they were protecting the Ulter Unionists against the IRA but overlooked the fact that they were the ultimate culprits in all this. Films like this (including the fabulous film, Michael Collins) revealed the extent of British barbarism and lend all the more glory to the incredibly heroic folk like Bobby Sands and, in another context to all the heroes of the American Revolution, who did whatever they could, including giving what Lincoln referred to as the `full measure of devotion', to get rid of the British thugs. Canada , my homeland, never did and we are still suffering from colonial legacy by having never founded a truly republican sysem of government. Just goes to show how the good that movies can do to make peope more aware of the world !

  • Justin W | March 1, 2013 6:50 PMReply

    I just got done watching it and all I can say is wow. Such a really good film.

  • Ava | March 1, 2013 5:15 PMReply

    The DVD is really good to watch because in the Extras, it offers a documentary about The Troubles presented by the BBC Program Panorama. Even though Panorama, these days, is not completely associated with having the journalistic integrity that they once had, in this case, their documentary really presents a very informative companion piece to McQueen's film, which offers bold, intense visual images--images that I found difficult to look at and difficult to look away from. Through that film, I truly became acquainted with McQueen's talent as a storyteller as well as a visual artist.
    And add me to that list of people looking forward to his next film (I'm sure I've mentioned it a thousand times).

  • Micah | March 5, 2013 4:03 AM

    Ava I couldn't agree with you more.

  • Existential Locomotion | March 1, 2013 12:55 PMReply

    Thank you for the article. What an incredible sacrifice these men gave.
    Really looking forward to McQueen's next film too.
    Please change the first line from 'May' to 'March' though.

    keep up the great work!!

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