Cannes prize for hunger strike film

ukpress.google.com
25 May 2008

A film about an IRA hunger strike in a Northern Irish prison has won an international award.

Hunger, which focuses on life at the Maze Prison and the hunger protest in 1981, received the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Steve McQueen with the Camera D’or received for ‘Hunger’

It is directed by London-born Turner Prize winner Steve McQueen and stars Irish actor Michael Fassbender as IRA prisoner Bobby Sands, the leader and the first to die in the Maze prison hunger strike.

Co-producer Laura Hastings-Smith, who worked alongside Robin Gutch, said: “We’re all absolutely thrilled, and thrilled for Steve, thrilled for the film and for everyone who’s worked on Hunger.

“The key to the film was that it looked at the humanity of the story and how this place, Maze Prison, at that time in history, how it was a brutalising place for everyone – be you prison officer, prisoner, orderly or riot guard.

“It was a tragedy for everyone. We looked at what happens when dialogue stops and that has a resonance across the world.”

The film was shown as part of the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section of the festival, which encourages innovative works and young talent.

The film is set in one of the H-blocks at Maze Prison in 1981, where Republican prisoners were on protest.

New inmate Davey Gillen (Brian Milligan) shares a cell with Republican prisoner Gerry Campbell (Liam McMahon) who trains him how to smuggle items and exchange communications, passing them on to their H-block leader Bobby Sands.

The film tells how the rioting broke out and violence spread beyond the Maze.

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