I saw one movie yesterday, called Bobby Sands: 66 Days.
People my age all know the basic story, and if it was confusing in our 20s, I'd say it is no less confusing now. So much depends on the words used to describe the two sides. If they were presented, as they often were in the mainstream media, as Catholics fighting Protestants, that's stupid, just stop. If they are called Irish Republicans just wanting to live in their home, against the oppressive, imperialist English who wanted it for themselves, then they get more sympathy. The movie tells us the IRA killed thousands of people over the years, including many civilians, but the men's complete devotion to their cause is admirable. Sands and others were objecting to the fact that the law had changed and they were no longer treated as political prisoners, but as criminals.
At the beginning of the movie, crew are shown building a set, a prison cell. The actors in this cell don't say anything, but provide a visual for some things we just don't have pictures of. There are a lot of interviews with historians, other ex-IRA members, other prisoners, men who played football with Sands in their childhood... Interesting movie about the man and the times.
One wonderful thing about seeing a movie at a festival is usually the Q&A sessions after the films. The director and producer were present last night. The Q&A started out something like this:
"Is your film editor related to So-and-So?"
Then someone noted the absence of women's voices in the movie. The director defended himself well enough (significant women didn't talk to him; there were images in the movie of women's groups marching and participating; he didn't want a token woman) but the questioner wanted to keep on arguing. He shut her down and moved on to another question... which started, "I went to Ireland once..." blah blah blah, no question, just reflections on what he had seen, on and on.
They managed to shut him up, and on to the next question, "What advice do you have for us in Canada with aboriginal children in distress and committing suicide, blah blah on and on." "I have no qualifications to talk about that!"
Next question, "Who were Bobby Sands's influences in this business, could it be Gandhi, Mandela, who did this in prison and that in prison, blah blah on and on?" "I think I covered that in the movie...."
The poor staff member who was meant to be running this was trying to get some on-point conversation going, but the audience was apparently full of people with their own agendas who didn't really want to talk about the movie. I left after the Mandela question, but I don't think they had time for much more.
In other news, Arthur made it home successfully, and is talking about dyeing his hair blue.