Celebrated visual artist Steve McQueen’s debut turned one of history’s most controversial acts of political defiance into a jarring, unforgettable cinematic experience through its intense exploration of Bobby Sands’ 1981 hunger strike.
In Northern Ireland’s Maze prison, twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands is on a hunger strike to protest the British government’s refusal to recognise him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners. Dramatising prison existence and Sands’s final days in a way that was purely experiential, even abstract, Mcqueen presents a succession of images full of both beauty and horror to give an unflinching, transcendent depiction of what a human being is willing to endure to be heard.
With meticulous attention to detail, Hunger is equally interested in the human body as both weapon and battleground as it is in the raw clashes between the wardens and prisoners. Aided by a breathtaking, visceral central performance from Michael Fassbender, McQueen’s debut delivered a devastating glimpse of political violence and personal sacrifice during a uniquely tragic period in British and Irish history.
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