Bobby Sands: 66 Days
DOCUMENTARY maker Brendan J Byrne sets out to bring us the man behind the icon in this detailed look at the life of the hunger striker Bobby Sands. He achieves his aim exceptionally well in this fascinating film that contextualises this torrid period in the North of Ireland’s history, and the events that led Sands and the other hunger strikers to take the dramatic action they did. The movie looks at the history of hunger striking, how self-starvation can impact on the body, and why 10 prisoners died in their fight for special category status to be returned in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh Prison. Coming at the story from each and every angle, Byrne has given us a comprehensive and balanced film which also features the writings and hunger – strike diaries of Sands himself, voiced brilliantly by Belfast actor Martin McCann in the film. In fact, this is one of the best documentaries ever made about the Troubles – informative, brilliantly put together by Byrne and his editor Paul Devlin and at times incredibly moving.
Featuring the contributions of several commentators and historian’s, it tells the story from the Unionist context also, with contributors including terrified prison officer’s recalling their fear at their families being attacked. As well as going into intimate historical details about the history of the Troubles – from the perspectives of both sides of the Irish Sea – and how the hunger strikes came to pass, the film also examines how they impacted in other parts of the world. It’s a stirring, wonderfully made documentary and an important account of a grim period in our trobled history.
With many thanks to: Esther Mccarthy. Sunday World.