In the years 1845 to 1849 the potatoes rotted in the fields of Ireland and thus destroyed the livelihoods of the rural population in particular. The massive famine decimated Ireland's population within a few years. The hardship of that time shapes life in Ireland to this day. Black 47 is set against the backdrop of the little known great famine in Ireland. Accompanied by a great cast of actors, the art house action flick reflects the horrors and sufferings of historical reality.


“Phytophthora infestans” was the name of the pilsner imported from North America, which was responsible for the fact that several potato harvests were almost completely lost. The fungus first attacks the potato tops and causes them to rot. The spores are then washed into the ground and attack the tuber. The tissue of the entire potato plant is destroyed. The entire field is quickly infested and the pilsner continues to spread. As a result, there was the greatest famine in Northern Ireland.

Black 47: The black year 1847

Black 47 begins in 1847 when the famine reached its sad climax. Unlike many of his compatriots, who saw emigrating overseas as the only way out, the main character Martin Feeney (James Frecheville) is returning to his homeland. After years of fighting for the British in Afghanistan, he now has to watch his homeland go under, while the British crown watches idly as the people starve to death. Robbed of their livelihood, many Irish can no longer pay their rent and are chased away by the English governors and soldiers. His brother's widow and her children are being driven from their home before his eyes. His nephew is shot on the spot, and a short time later his sister-in-law and niece freeze to death. Driven by revenge, Feeney grabs his rifle and begins a bloody campaign against those responsible.

In order to bring him down, the British authorities use Feeney's colleagues from Afghanistan Hannah (Hugo Weaving) and Army officer Pope (Freddie Fox) on him. Little did they suspect, however, that Hannah has the greatest respect for Feeney and knows that Feeney is on the right side.

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As illustrated in Black 47, representatives of the British Crown shamelessly took advantage of the helplessness of the Irish people. Instead of helping the starving rural population in need, the English governors drove the farmers from their land and took advantage of the consequences of the famine to gain additional land for themselves - land of a fertility that does not exist anywhere else in the British Isles.

Suffering Irish and unscrupulous English

As tenants, the Irish farmers were subject to English tenancy law, which gave the English landlords the opportunity to evict the farmers from their land if they did not fulfill their obligations as tenants. The British took advantage of this shamelessly to continue to live out their urge to colonize and to enlarge the British Empire.

The famine was fueled by the decision of the British government not to stop grain exports from Ireland despite the famine. This aroused the anger of the hungry, and the grain shipments had to be handled under police protection. The great famine and the behavior of the British government ensured that the already tense relationship between the Irish and the British crown worsened.

The aftermath of the catastrophe still affects relations between Ireland and England today. It is presumably precisely this unscrupulous behavior by the English during the great famine that drove the Irish people's aspirations for independence. Because as early as the 1870s, the first organizations were formed that wanted to achieve land reform and independence for Ireland. Many violent clashes with the British Crown were the result. Ireland eventually gained independence with the Anglo-Irish War between 1919 and 1921, with the exception of Northern Ireland.

German free TV premiere of Black 47

Black 47 celebrates its German free TV premiere on Friday, February 12th on 3sat. The action-arthouse flick with western borrowings stages the horrors of the famine at the time with relentless images and has a great cast. Unfortunately, gaps in logic and an overly deliberate staging combine here with an occasionally slow pace and a predictable story, with which director Lance Daly strains the viewer's attention very much. Nevertheless, all western and action fans who are interested in an insight into an unusual historical setting can switch on without hesitation. The film can be viewed in the 30sat media library for 3 days after it has been broadcast.


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Black 47 [Blu-ray] Black 47 [Blu-ray] * 8,99 EUR

Last updated on 19.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API