There’s quite a bit of talk about the wonderful Ken Loach at the moment, as the much celebrated English film director has returned to the theme of revolutionary Irish history. His latest film, Jimmy’s Hall, tells the tale of Jimmy Gralton, the only Irishman ever to be deported from Ireland. Gralton, as a revolutionary socialist, was not exactly the most welcome of individuals in conservative 1930s Ireland. The film sees Loach tackle a period only a decade on from the entrenched bitterness of the Civil War he captured so well in The Wind That Shakes The Barely.
Anyway, what does this have to do with Dublin?
One of Loach’s most controversial works is Hidden Agenda, set against the backdrop of the conflict in the North. It deals with the tricky subjects of state terrorism during the conflict. Released in 1990, the film depicts the fictional assassination of an American civil rights lawyer in the North.
It includes what I think is one of the most dramatic scenes ever filmed in Dublin. In the video below, Dublin can be seen from 1:32:15, with a car turning onto College Green. The SAS are monitoring a meeting on the O’Connell Bridge between a former army intelligence officer and an investigator, but they soon sweep in and bundle the man into a van. The panicked investigator hops into a Dublin taxi, and a rather comical exchange follows.
There was certainly nothing comical about the shooting of the kidnap scene on the bridge however. It was filmed using hidden cameras and passersby, who knew nothing about the filming of Loach’s movie , barely blink an eye! I think it’s one of my favourite Dublin moments on the big screen.