Hunger is an explosive, challenging and unforgettable feature film by the multi award winning creative team of British artist film-maker Steve McQueen and Irish writer Enda Walsh.
The film is a highly evocative and provocative interpretation of the real story of a man who threatens to kill himself as a political tactic in a long running battle over prison conditions. He and his fellow prisoners want to be treated as political prisoners and not as terrorists. Their demands are refused. He stays true to his word. He dies, as do nine other prisoners after him. Six months after his death the state begins to concede to their demands. But too late for the ten dead men… This man was I.R.A. volunteer, M.P., poet and hunger striker Bobby Sands.
On the 5th of May 1981 Sands was the first person to die on the hunger strike in Her Majesty’s Maze prison near Belfast, Northern Ireland. After 217 days of protest and ten men dead, the hunger strike was called off by the prisoners: three days later the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced a number of changes in prison policy. Over the following 2 years all the prisoners’ demands were granted. In 2000, the remaining political prisoners were released under the terms of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
Sands’ decision to use his body as a political weapon reverberates in our post 9/11 world. Hunger is a timely and compelling exploration of belief and commitment. A film about the psychology and the price of long-term imprisonment, about how political conflict can escalate until neither side can lose face or back down, about what happens to the mind and body when pushed to their uttermost limits.