Dir: Steve McQueen

UK, Ireland


96 mins


Part of: BAFTA Debuts

Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Liam McMahon

Turner Prize winning artist Steve McQueen’s incendiary debut launched his narrative film career.

One of the UK’s top visual artists, Hunger marked the arrival of McQueen as a narrative filmmaker, as well as providing the earliest demonstration of his star Michael Fassbender’s mesmerising screen presence. Like McQueen’s Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Hunger brings history to life with an intense, almost overpowering emotional immediacy and imagery of beauty and horror.

Hunger is the unflinching dramatisation of the last weeks in the life of Bobby Sands (Fassbender), the Provisional IRA member who led the 1981 Irish hunger strike in the political wing of Belfast’s Maze Prison. Ten prisoners starved themselves to death in protest at being denied official political prisoner status by the British government under Margaret Thatcher. Sands’ passionate commitment to his beliefs and in the righteousness of his cause are portrayed in a stunning central scene where he discusses the morality of the strike with a visiting priest (Liam Cunningham).

Asking questions about idealism and extremism that resonate to this day, Hunger is necessary and devastating viewing.

This title is no longer available for booking from the ICO

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