Black ’47
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Black ’47

Black ’47 black potatoes, women in rags, a million dead, a million gone: most of us understand the Great Famine sketchily, Black ’47 in half-remembered snatches from school books. Now that those geniuses at the Department of Education have decided that history is no longer a core subject, future generations may not remember it at all, yet it’s the single most significant event in Irish history, the catastrophe that drove us off the path of glum compliance towards sustained insurgence.

The Famine put fire in revolutionaries’ bellies and created a large, politically influential immigrant community in America that would be of huge help to us once independence had eventually been achieved. It’s the ground zero of Irish history, yet it has never, to my knowledge, once been portrayed on film – till now.

Wisely, I would say, Lance Daly’s Black 47 does not tackle the full horror of the Great Hunger head on, and instead uses it as a haunting backdrop for a moving and very entertaining genre picture – a revenge thriller, its director reckons, though to me it felt as much like a western, the kind of Irish film John Ford might have made if he’d been inclined to move beyond the wistful paddywhackery of The Quiet Man.

Duration: 100 min


IMDb: 6.8