2008. Great Britain/Ireland. Steve McQueen. 96 min.
Monday, December 21, 2009, 8:00 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
2008. Great Britain/Ireland. Directed by Steve McQueen. With Michael Fassbender, Stuart Graham. Hunger is a gripping and soulful account of the shocking events surrounding the highly publicized 1981 hunger strike in the Maze prison near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bobby Sands, the charismatic and principled member of the Irish National Liberation Army who led the hunger strike, is the film's central figure. The story follows Sands and fellow prisoners who acted, along with the IRA and the broader Irish Republican movement, to demand better prison conditions by seeking political prisoner status. The prisoners took dramatic actions to be heard, including refusing to wear prison uniforms or to bathe. When the situation sparks a standoff between Sands and English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Sands debates the morality of the hunger strike with a visiting priest. The film uses visceral scenes to portray the plight of the prisoners, their relationship to the guards, the physical effects of starvation, the enigmatic nature of private decisions, and the conundrum of political power struggles. Visual artist Steve McQueen trained at the Chelsea School of Art, London; Goldsmith College, London; and at the Tisch School of Arts, New York University and was the recipient of the Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, London (1999). The first feature by Turner Prize–winning visual artist McQueen, Hunger premiered at Cannes in 2008, where it won the Camera d’Or. 96 min.