66 days: Bobby Sands, a documentary by Brendan J. Byrne, presents a cleaner version of the IRA member’s last days.
I became familiar with Bobby Sands from watching the 2008 film “The Hunger” starring Michael Fassbender. Unlike, 66 days, it does not hesitate to face and show the terrible prison conditions Sands and other inmates lived in. It also reveals the causes behind the eye for eye, tooth for a tooth mentally that existed between inmates, prison guards, and officials.
Much of film goes back and forth between passages read from Sand’s diary, his friends and reporters recalling his years growing up, his reasons for joining the IRA, and how events like the Easter Rising in 1916, made him consider a different way of protesting. The sacrifice he and the nine other men who did the hunger strike forced the British government to meet their demands, albeit all too late for him and the others.
For someone just starting to learn about Bobby Sands, Byrne’s film is a good place to start. Among the other films I have seen that fit this era include the documentary Art of Conflict (2012) and the fact-based 2009 film Five Minutes of Heaven.
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