British filmmaker Ken Loach is turning his practiced muse and penetrating focus once again toward Ireland with a new film exploring the disabilities inflicted on Ireland's working classes, this time in the aftermath of Irish independence.
According to a report this week in IFTN.com, a leading source of news for the Irish film and television industries, Loach and his production team at Sixteen Films visited Leitrim last week to scout out sets. The film, titled "Jimmy's Hall," will present the story of Leitrim native Jim Grailton, a leading Irish socialist who ran afoul of local clergy, then-Prime Minister Eamon de Valera and the new nation's Fianna Fail rulers. Gralton in 1933 became the only Irish citizen ever to be deported by an Irish government.
Right, Ken Loach on the West Cork set of "The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Photo Joss Barratt / Courtesy of Sixteen Films
The screenplay, by Loach and Sixteen Films writing partner Paul Laverty, is informed by Donal O'Kelly's play "Jimmy Gralton's Dancehall," according to IFTN. The film will be produced by Sixteen Fllms' Rebecca O'Brien and Element Pictures, with funding by the Irish Film Board.
Loach's last Irish drama, "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," was a fearless indictment of Britain's ruthless comportment during Ireland's War of Independence and manipulation of the subsequent civil war. "Barley" won Best Film at Cannes Film Festival in 2006.
After his deportation, Gralton moved to the United States, where he ran on the Communist Party slate in Manhattan before he died in 1945.
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