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Very difficult movie to watch. Leaves an impact on you when you finish. I thought some parts were unnecessary, like the 5 minute scene of the janiter mopping up piss. Michael Fassbender was wonderful in the film.
Primo grandissimo film per il regista Steve McQueen che dimostra ciò che confermerà con i suoi successivi film, un grande talento sfruttato in ogni singolo fotogramma della pellicola. Il tema è molto duro e cruento, raccontato alla perfezione mantenendo alto il rispetto e il realismo verso i delicati fatti realmente accaduti. Punti di forza del film sono senza dubbio l'interpretazione di Fassbender e le trovate registiche originali e valide. Mentre l'attore ci regala una delle sue interpretazioni migliori, il regista offre dei piani sequenza e delle inquadrature da vero maestro di cinema, con un risultato finale che risulta impressionante sotto ogni punto di vista.
Powerful and instructive, with an amazing performance of Michael Fassbender.
Absolutely dreadful as entertainment. As art, brutal and effective. But I wasted two hours on dreadful non-entertainment about brutality and self-indulgent stupidity. Avoid!
Despite a fine performance from Michael Fassbender I felt dissatisfied when the film was over.
the reason why cinema exists..
Hunger is a character driven biographical drama depicting the inner Irish prison world through various perspectives. Let's acknowledge the elephant in the room, it's not an easy tale to listen to. The meddled and explore subjects in here are not for everyone, it personifies the harrowing nightmares of each individual characters to a point where you start cringing on your seat.
Amidst all these negative emotions, there resides a beautiful poem within it, which McQueen extracts out and paints this stunning craft through it. There aren't much verbal sparrings (and when there is, it leaves you mesmerized as it reeks of the old theatre acts to the core) in here, it is all acted out, it relies completely upon physical sequences and proves the explicit writing it contains.
McQueen's world in here is "black and white", "0 and 1" and, purely opinionated where there is no room for "if's" and "but's", there is no diplomatic version that comes out of it. Its sinistes background score, the metaphorical cinematography and fine editing along with few jaw dropping shots that is a tale of its own, makes this feature rich on such technical aspects.
Fassbender makes you writhe on screen with his majestic performance and flaunts his unflinching potential to carry it off such a craft all on his shoulder. McQueen triumphs on originality of the structure of the script, it is dark opera house that is equally glorifying as much as sharp it is.
If it's heinous then it's because of the accuracy, if it's inedible then it's because of the honesty and if it's beautiful then it's because of the innocence. Eye popping art designing, poetic and jagged screenplay, McQueen's gut wrenching shots and Fassbender at the heart of it are the high points of the feature.
Hunger is a rare art that analysis the allegory with heart wide open and points out the reason why cinema exists.
Marvelous acting, awesome story. Bobby Sands shall not be forgotten.
i dont get why the first half of the movie is dedicated to a complete different character than fassbenders. why bring davey in, in the first place when he dissappears in the middle of the story? i rather wanted to know more about bobby sands from the beginning- what was his political motive, why he got in jail etc. - weak plot.
Hunger, to me was a movie that I wished I never saw right after I watched it, but then became captivated by its quality the next day. Even though it was quite a tough watch and left me feeling very unsettled and appalled by the actions that some people can take against others, it caused me to be reflective of not only the form of the movie and its message, but also of the state of our society, especially when in relation to prisons and the ways they could be used to bend people's will into obeying a higher power.
McQueen did a great job at illustrating the horridness of this true event. He was not keen on hiding the brutality of the situation; the movie was filled with scenes that left you squirming in your chair, with your eyes burning a little, and your heart sinking and rising with the flow of the movie. He did not want to produce a movie that was only entertaining, he wanted to create something that would resonate with the audience, to show them how even with the cruel conditions the prisoners were subjected to during their imprisonment, they were able to transgress those physical boundaries constructed around them in a way that made them just as powerful as they were when free. This is, my favorite thing about the movie.
Now, before I delve into that, it is important to think about the less obvious but significant details, and that is the architecture of containment; the manner by which and the reason behind the imprisonment tactics that were used on the prisoners. Firstly, the design of the prison itself was a collection of individualized and identical cells arranged in the shape of an H, and that was done to achieve maximum isolation of the inmates; to create the perfect space that would produce the needed psychic effect needed for reformation; to limit their interactions with one another as much as possible, and, finally, to depoliticize them. This was so integral to the process of reformation because the British government realized that they must rid those prisoners of the thing that made them so malignant and powerful, the thing that fueled this political crime, which was their collective mentality. Another factor that contributed to the reformation and depoliticization processes was the administration's refusal to recognize the prisoners' affiliation to their organization. And it was this combination, along with the prisoners' clear vision of their cause, that led to the three major events of the movement, which were reflected in the movie: the no wash and blanket protests and the hunger strike that finally caused the British government to cave in to the prisoners' demands.
Our first contact with this defiance of oppression was the scene of a newly-joined prisoner, who was made to strip and don on the prison uniform, which he refused to take, and so was just given a blanket instead (this illustrates the blanket protest). Then the movie takes us along with that new inmate, where he was captured naked from a side shot, looking like Michelangelo's Statue of David. We follow him all the way to the inside of the cell, where the no wash protest becomes apparent when we see the disheveled state of his fellow inmate.
Later events in the movie lead us then to see literal examples of the prisoners dissolving the boundaries that were built around them, the mighty walls of their prison cells. We not only see them becoming one with the space that contained them, but we also see them dominate it in almost a territorial sense. The first time we see such a transgression was the sight of the walls smeared with the prisoners' excrement. This was not only limited to their individual cells, but was also extended to other areas in the prison as well, where at some point, we see a wall of excrement "art". It was arranged with such symmetry that zoned in to the center of the wall, it almost reminded you of a hybrid of Pollock's Number 5 painting and some type of optical art. Another instance where we see them break the walls (metaphorically) around them was when they would empty containers of their urine out into the corridor from underneath their doors. This was such a powerful scene for me to see because not only was it capturing with the symmetry created by the cell doors, but the gushing of the urine from underneath the doors in unison mirrored a violent body of water, a fierce and collective force in itself.
So not only were they successful in breaking the boundaries that separated them from one another, the stench of their urine and excrement, which they got used to at some point, made a heady combination for the prison staff. This made it more difficult for them to walk the corridors of the cell, creating a type of off-limits area which was commanded by the prisoners. So, this territorial behavior resulted in somehow disrupting the once stable power dynamic between the prisoners and the prison staff by 'containing' the areas to which they are allowed access.
Furthermore, yet another excellent instance, where they showed another transgression of boundaries, was during a powerful and angry scene where they all exploded by throwing and breaking chairs and bed frames in their cells after they are given 'clowny-looking' clothes to wear. Just when they were oppressed and mocked for their rebellious actions, for refusing to conform to the identity created for them to grow into as prisoners, the ruckus that they cause as a reply is just another demonstration of their unison and their perseverance as an activist group against all kinds of restrictions and boundaries placed on them.
Overall, I believe that McQueen provided one of the most realistic representations of this historical event where he accentuated the power of transgressing boundaries as shown through the actors themselves and through the artwork that he has alluded to in this film. And this, to me, sends the message that these forms of communication and narrative, such as art and cinema, have the ability to transgress boundaries, such as time. This realization almost acts as a nudge to the audience to become aware of any boundaries that were imposed on them by society and to, perhaps, transgress them in some way.
Hunger is a recreation of the 1981 hunger strike by Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners at the British prison of Long Kesh, known as the H-Blocks, outside Belfast in Northern Ireland (Source). Despite McQueen's refusal to describe Hunger as a "political" film, preferring instead to characterize his approach as "humanist," political views are eminent throughout the film. From Thatcher's reply to the IRA prisoners' request to be recognized as prisoners of war instead of criminals, to the choices IRA prisoners make, to the dehumanization of prisoners, Hunger challenges the architectures of containment by employing form and content that coalesce to craft a brilliant masterpiece.
Physical containment in Hunger works on both parties in the conflict, prisoners, and prison guards. The architecture of the H-block was purposefully designed to negate "free association" of Long Kesh, in an attempt to "foster the development of reason and self-regulation in its inmates". The serial arrays of cells where prisoners are in solitary confinement aims to ensure the isolation of the prisoners from one another, and allow silent introspection and unhindered interventions by prison guards in order to erase the individual identities of the prisoners. Yet, prisoners were still able to transgress these boundaries of containment. The necessity to overcome the boundaries of the prison lead to the bodies of the prisoners, and those of their loved ones, becoming transmitting devices. Radios found their ways into the prison, and kisses were used to smuggle tiny messages.
Despite the reformers' excessive emphasis on individuation and isolation, prisoners also found means to confine the prison guards. Cell walls were smeared with excrement and urine to disgust, horrify and provoke the guards. Hunger doesn't excuse or rationalize the prison guards' inhumanity, but it does reveal the corrosive effects of their behavior on themselves. The prison guard that is humanely depicted in the beginning of the film, is later shown with his hands bleeding followed by a still shot of him smoking a cigarette outside in the freezing cold snow. Later into the film, a young policeman is seen shaking, shaking and in tears, separated by a wall away from the continuing violence. This scene shows the basics humanity of the situation, and how the architectures of containment do not only affect the prisoners, but also the guards. What the policemen are doing by brutally hitting the prisoners is in itself a transgression of the basic qualities that define us as human beings.
At the center of the largely silent film, a dialogue between Hunger Striker leader Bobby Sands and a Catholic Priest, Father Dominic Moran, introduces the audience to the nature of the situation. Their conversation, which progresses from awkward small talk, to playful banter, to ideological challenge and counterchallenge, carries with it the varying layers of transgressing architectures of containment. Most profoundly is the decision Bobby Sands makes to reverse the Master-Slave dialectic by leading a hunger strike. The essence of the Master-Slave dialectic is that slaves are only slaves because they consciously make a decision to follow a master. The moment slaves choose not to follow the master, the master is no longer a master. In the context of a prison, the slaves are the prisoners, and the master is the collective entity of the reformers. Bobby Sands was so strong about his cause that he found himself with no choice but to do a hunger strike.
The decision Bobby Sands makes is not an easy one, and this was also conveyed on the level of form. In the twenty-nine minutes long scene of dialogue, during which the camera does not move angle for the first seventeen minutes, visual symmetry which is strikingly similar to that of the H-Block can be observed. This is further backed up by that fact that the shot that comes straight after the overload of dialogue is one of the H-Block. If the setting where the dialogue takes place is visually similar to that of the H-Block, and the design of the H-Block is an architecture of containment, then one can deductively deduce that the setting where the dialogue takes place is an architecture of containment. Hence, the thought-provoking exchange between Bobby Sands and Father Dominic is one that transgresses architectures of containment.
The transgression of the architectures of containment in Hunger is not limited to physical containment, but also extends to the containment by the boundaries and ideologies instilled in the society. It is both shocking and disturbing how IRA prisoners were stripped of the basic right of being recognized as war prisoners. The struggle for political status is summed up early in the film by when Margaret Thatcher's said: "There is no such thing as political murder, political bombing, political violence. There is only criminal murder, criminal bombing, and criminal violence. There will be no political status." Through this, Thatcher aims to manufacture consent on the situation of the prisoners, mystify the reality of the situation, and generate false consciousness in the society to justify the approach of the British government. Hence, by going on a hunger strike, Bobby Sands went on a mission against a full society, a full world which required a transgression of the architectures of containment.
Steve McQueen successfully plunges the audience in the lives of IRA prisoners. The first half of the film is silent to provoke the imagination of the audience that get hungry for the richness of dialogue that is later offered to clarify the prisoners needs and what they are fighting for beyond the walls of prison. The audience do not simply observe the atrocities of the situation, but also live them. To achieve that, Hunger transgresses the architectures of containment through employing both form and content in unique and interesting ways.