Thursday, March 27, 2008
One For Your Queue
Add this to your Netflix queue. "Blood Sunday" is a dramatization of the shootings that took place in Derry, Ireland in 1972 that many point to as a trigger event for an increase in sectarian fighting in Northern Ireland during the period known as The Troubles.
What works about the film is how even-handed it is. Though it seems clear the British overreacted, and a platoon of soldiers lost their sense of scale and got caught up in the heat of the fight, shooting many unarmed Catholic citizens of Derry, the film also establishes a context for this overreaction, and hints at the history that could lead to a massacre. The language the British military use to describe the protesters (primarily "yabbos" and "hooligans") makes it easier to "turn the enemy from a 'thou' to an 'it'" (paraphrasing Joseph Campbell). The truth was, some of the Catholics were hooligans. But not all. The British go past the roadblocks (the Catholics were interned within their neighborhood in Derry -- which the British called Londonderry) ostensibly to arrest the troublemakers, but end up committing horrific crimes of war. (Four of the 14 dead were shot in the back.)
It's a fascinating look at an amazing event, told with great precision and clarity. Highly recommended.