Irish period dramas have often found themselves relevant to the larger film community. “In the Name of the Father” drew considerable praise from critics and earned Pete Postlewaite his only Oscar nomination. It also earned Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson Oscar nominations as well. “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2006. Now, IFC is hoping to make a late push with “Black 47” from director Lance Daly.
“Black 47” follows a battle-worn soldier named Feeney (James Frecheville) after he deserts the British army to return home. The Great Famine has destroyed most of Ireland, making the country unrecognizable. His mother has died of starvation and his brother was murdered by English troops. This makes Feeney who choose to fight back and get revenge on the people who destroyed his country and family.
The film stars Frecheville, but it has a much deeper cast. Hugo Weaving plays the antagonist of sorts, although his description seems to paint a multileveled character. He plays a disgraced veteran, who has complex allegiances to the crown. Stephen Rea, Jim Broadbent, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford all co-star.
“Black 47” will make it’s North American Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September. The film already made its World Premiere at Berlin Film Festival in February of this year. It is not the only film seeking to fight back against the British Government this year. “Peterloo,” directed by Mike Leigh, also tells the story of people standing up to their government, resulting in tragedy and death. Both films are period pieces, and both could become far bigger players at Oscar.