Movie commentary – The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)


Here is a commentary about the movie by one Mr Diby – original source long forgotten – which I read online, after already seeing the movie, crying, and loving it.

{ A couple of years ago my wife and I went to a film festival movie called, (sic) The Wind in the Barley. We made the mistake of not checking the content as the title had a kind of “feel good” look to it.
Well, there was nothing about “barley” or the “wind” in the film. Rather it was a graphic dramatisation of the violence and animosity unleashed by the Irish towards the English at the turn of the 20th century. [ emphasis mine]
It was so graphic I found myself wincing throughout the film while I waited squeamishly for the next round of fingernails to be removed, kneecaps destroyed and people murdered.
There were two lessons I learned from this film; well, three actually. First, always check what a movie is before going. Second, life in New Zealand is comparatively peaceful. Third, how we live determines what we truly believe.
Despite any views I might have about the IRA, there is little doubt that those involved lived what they believed and in doing so risked their own lives and those of their families.
It’s been said of the modern western world that the way we currently live reveals that we believe both nothing and anything – it’s an accusation laid at the door of Christians too. We live for comfort and pleasure and only become incensed about injustice when the injustice done affects our comfort and pleasure. The question is, is the accusation true?
We all believe certain things. However what we believe doesn’t necessarily mean those beliefs make any difference to the way we live. We might believe in justice but we may not live justly ourselves. We might believe in the environmental movement, but choose not to live environmentally.
To live our beliefs requires another word, faith. Yet what exactly is the difference between belief and faith? A belief is an end; it’s a decision that something is true. Sometimes it is a rational conclusion that follows from empirical data, other times we believe just simply because we know. We are all participate (sic) in both forms of believing. Yet to make a difference in our lives we need to live our beliefs – often we don’t.
Acting according to our beliefs requires faith. Faith is the engine room of belief because it puts into action those things we hold to be true. Faith unlocks our ability to state what we believe when we’re in the minority. Faith enacts our belief in justice even if it comes at personal cost.
To say “I believe in God” is essentially meaningless if that belief doesn’t translate into living for God. What we claim to believe about anything is nothing more than vacuous linguistic noise if those beliefs make no difference to our lives.
Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into a person that makes them who they are, it’s what comes out”. What do you believe? You’ll know by examining how you live.” }

Here follows my brief reaction:
I have a “discussion point” or two to raise, about Digby’s description of the movie, correctly titled The Wind That Shakes the Barley and about his sermonising. He claims the movie included nothing about “wind” or “barley” – missing the allegory – the wind is the English invasion and the Irish revolution, the barley the wind shakes is the peaceful life of the people of rural or urban Ireland going about their lives.
Firstly, the movie does not only depict or reveal the “violence and animosity unleashed by the Irish toward the English” – it clearly and just as graphically shows that unleashed by the English towards the Irish. The very fact that the story is based on two brothers whose affiliations are on opposite “sides” provides a balance to the horrific episodes – each brother becomes just as cold-blooded as the other.
Secondly, his quote of Jesus – no reference provided – sorry but it sounds so much like something out of a Californian politically correct motivational seminar that I can’t accept it. Too clever a modernisation of Christ’s words unsettles me and distracts me from your main message. I think JC would more likely have said something like “actions speak louder than words” (yes I know that this is not in the Bible) or some such, so I invite Bible students to advise me/us of a Bible reference that would provide a base of what Digby has “quoted”.