“Winning the propaganda war.”
On the 30th of January 1972, a civil rights peace march was held in Derry, Northern Ireland. Organizer Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt), a Protestant Irish member of Parliament from the nationalist Social Democratic Party, hoped that the march would bring protesters of the British occupation of Northern Ireland together in a peaceful march. The 10,000 marchers were both Catholic and Protestant–Bernadette Devlin was one of those present. In the weeks prior to the march, the British had suffered substantial losses to the IRA, all marches were banned, and the situation was tense. At the end of the march, 13 civilians were dead–another died later, and many others were wounded. Exactly what occurred that day is the subject of the excellent film, Bloody Sunday.
Director and writer Paul Greengrass states that while there is “no common story” about the events that took place, by piecing together accounts of eyewitnesses, the film is a theorized version of events. He also notes that investigations following the shootings found no fault with the soldiers–and in fact the officers involved were even awarded medals by the queen. The film is made with a documentary style–scenes stop abruptly and then return to the exact same spot. A hand held camera is used for the entire film and it gives an aura of authenticity–especially to the crowd scenes. The film conveys a sense of immediacy, and the viewer very quickly becomes involved with the events taking place on the screen. The DVD includes many extras: commentary by director/writer Peter Greengrass and actor James Nesbitt, commentary by co-producer Don Mullan, the author of “Eyewitness Bloody Sunday”, a short “Bloody Sunday History Retold” and “Ivan Cooper Remembered.”
Bloody Sunday is a solid political film, and it is largely credited that this important incident encouraged many Irish to abandon peaceful tactics and join the ranks of the IRA.