Four Days in July (1985)

Imdb Ranking 7.3

Mike Leigh tales a look at a couple of families, one Catholic and one Protestant as The Twelth of Juky comes up in the mid-1980's. The Twelfth is a yearly Protestant celebration celebrating the Glorious Revolution and victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne (1690).

Both families are expecting a baby. Collette and Eugene are Catholics and Eugene thinks the baby will come the next day, on the twelfth. Lorraine and Billy and Protestants and Billy works for the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Billy twirls a stick with boys who wear shirts that says "No Surrender" and "Proud to be a Protestant."

Eugene is handicapped and Dixie (Stepen Rea) drops in to clean the buildings windows. Brendan is also on hand trying to fix the toilet and he knew Dixie from school and then they were in interment camp together. "What do you call an Englishman with a seagull on his head?" Cliff. "What was the name of the boat in 'Mutiny on the Bounty'?" There was some very good dialogue in this movie as choppers fly over head. The "troubles" have intruded on the household as the dialogue is peppered with talk of deaths, internment, occupation and then we find out that Eugene is disabled because he was shot by the Brits. Soldiers were stopping cars and a couple of joyriders drove through a checkpoint and the Brits opened up on them and Eugene got hit. Eugene considers himself lucky because it could have been much worse. He was also injured before that by a bomb in a bar - it was a UVF job. Brendan and Dixie then talk on the street while armed soldiers walk by them.

On July 11th Billy and Lorraine are out at a bonfire getting ready for the festivities. The crowd sings songs and drinks with British flags flying on the rooftops. Billy and Lorrain then move indoors where Billy drinks with some friends, Big Billy and Little Billy. The soldiers tell some tales of things they went through on the job with talk of the border and Provos.

Patriotic songs are sung in both households. Collette sings a song called 'The Patriot Game' that has verses like
"This Ireland of mine
Has for long been half free,
Six counties are under
John Bull's tyranny."

The Twelfth arrives and the Union Jacks are flying. Collette wakes up and her water has broke. Lorraine wakes up and her water has broken too. The parades atart and the bands and clubs go marching by. The troops, including Billy, watch over with their submachine guns. Billy then gets a call to go to the hospital.

In the waiting room you can hear the drums and fifes outside. One man has been waiting for three hours and is made because his wife is taking his time. Eugene starts talking to Billy and they both listen to the other man complain.

The next day we see Collette and Lorraine, in the same room, with her babies anx thet start talking about the births.

There were no subtitles and I did find some of the dialogue hard to follow. Originally made for TV, the production values were not that great, but the Mike Leigh touch did shine through in his examination of the people going through their every day lives while larger events swirl around them. Listed as a comedy but probably a little more poignant than comedic.