The Wind That Shakes the Barley

A wartime drama about the 1920’s Irish revolution against the British. The Irish medical student Damian is about to start his new job in London as he is witness to the mercenary atrocities of the British and decides to join his brother in the resistance group I.R.A to fight for Irish independence.

I, Daniel Blake

Daniel Blake, 59, has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, after a heart attack and nearly falling from a scaffold, he needs help from the State for the first time in his life. He crosses paths with a single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern day Britain.

Route Irish

An ex-soldier tries to uncover the circumstances of his best friend’s death. Fergus and Frankie met on the first day of school and the pair stayed close from then on. Both had a career in the military, and when Fergus left the SAS and landed a lucrative job with a private security firm in Baghdad, he persuaded Frankie to join him. In 2007 Fergus is back home in Liverpool, and learns that Frankie has been killed on Route Irish, the dangerous road running between Baghdad airport and the city’s Green Zone. Raging with grief and highly suspicious of the official explanation of events, Fergus begins his own investigation with the help of Frankie’s widow, Rachel.

The Spirit Of ’45

Ken Loach’s 2013 documentary about social change in Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War, including the nationalisation of industries and the formation of the welfare state. Made almost entirely in black & white, so B&W archive footage from the 1940s blend in with interviews made today.

The Angel’s Share

A new father who has narrowly escaped a prison sentence concocts a plan to carve out a new future that involves a whiskey distillery, with the help of fellow community service workers. [Synopsis via The Playlist]

Looking For Eric

This comic film from Palme d’Or winner Loach follows a depressed Mancunian postman, obsessed with football, whose life is descending in to crisis. That is, until he receives some life coaching from the famously philosophical football legend Eric Cantona (playing himself).

Jimmy’s Hall

In 1921 Jimmy Gralton’s sin was to build a dance hall on a rural crossroads in an Ireland on the brink of Civil War. The Pearse-Connolly Hall was a place where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream… but above all to dance and have fun. As the hall grew in popularity its socialist and free-spirited reputation brought it to the attention of the church and politicians who forced Jimmy to flee and the hall to close.

A decade later, at the height of the Depression, Jimmy returns to Co. Leitrim from the US to look after his mother and vows to live the quiet life. The hall stands abandoned and empty, and despite the pleas of the local youngsters, remains shut. However as Jimmy reintegrates into the community and sees the poverty, and growing cultural oppression, the leader and activist within him is stirred. He makes the decision to reopen the hall in the face of what they may bring… [Synopsis courtesy of LA Film Festival]