This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


All we are is barley in the wind.

Posted by on

"I hope this Ireland we’re fighting for is worth it."
After a lukewarm critical reception at Cannes, an out-of-the-blue Palme d’Or win, and knee-jerk accusations that the film is anti-patriotic and pro-IRA, Ken Loach‘s "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" opened in the UK on Friday to both praise and a caveat-encumbered dance around what is indisputably a highly unflattering view of the British at that time.

Sukhdev Sandhu in the Telegraph places the film in "a noble and very English tradition of dissent that
reaches back past Cobbett and Defoe right through to William Langland." Jonathan Romney at the Independent is more measured, allowing that:

While few of Loach’s regular viewers would have problems accepting his views on the Spanish Civil War or Nicaragua, it’s harder for the average liberal broadsheet reader to accept unquestioningly this film’s presentation of the heroism of the early IRA and the brutality of British forces in Ireland in 1920. And whether or not the portrayal of British violence is accurate, the question that a critic must ask – at the risk of seeming a bourgeois aesthete – is whether this portrayal is dramatically effective.

Romney, attempting to approach "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" purely from a cinematic perspective (and coming up with a strange and apologetic review), finally concludes that "This is Loach’s most provocative film in ages, and it’s also among his most dramatically compelling. And it is so for reasons that transcend the strict limits of its argument: Loach might question the terms of this analysis, but if ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ demands to be seen, it’s as much for its poetics as for its politics."

Mark Kermode in the Observer takes a similar approach, first noting Barry Ackroyd‘s lovely cinematography, then going on to commend the film (which he calls "more melancholic than defiant") while noting that "one can and, indeed, should argue about the politics." Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian gives the film three stars out of five, and writes that "[t]he film’s final cadences are ones of misery and bitterness and rage, and all this, coupled with what is sometimes a slightly inert dramatic language, do not make for an easy watch. But it is a finely made, finely acted piece of work."

At the London Times, James Christopher is ecstatic:

This is Loach at his creative and inflammatory best. The scale of his historical thriller about the armed struggle to get the British out of Ireland in the early decades of the 20th century dwarfs anything the veteran director has attempted before. The budget barely extends beyond brown tweeds and flat-caps, but the ambition is awesome. If anger fuels Loach’s best work, he exceeds himself here. His view of the colonial Brits as greedy, swaggering sadists is unhindered by a single complimentary frame. The controversy is as ripe as rotten stilton, and Loach’s critics are up in arms.

Still no word on a US distributor for the film, alas.

+ Powerful – but never preachy (Telegraph)
+ The Wind That Shakes the Barley (15) (Independent)
+ Another cry for freedom (Observer)
+ The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Guardian)
+ The Wind that Shakes the Barley (London Times)

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More