Sheffield Doc/Fest Preview: The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid

As the saying goes, a man’s home is his castle. And like castles some houses are passed down from generation to generation. However, the fact that you own something doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be taken away from you. When big multi-nationals come calling they’re often not asking but telling. There are struggles taking place over land rights all around the world, not just in developing countries. Ireland is a prime example.

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Ireland’s main aim is to encourage investment into Ireland from foreign-owned companies. The Irish parliament is so focussed on attracting overseas corporations that it is prepared to do pretty much anything. Thomas Reid lives on a 17th century farm which has been in his family’s hands for hundreds of years. Intel, the U.S. microchip manufacturer, have a factory next door and are keen to expand. They’re intent on taking his land but Thomas has no intention of selling.

The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid follows the Irishman as he does battle with the conglomerate. Using reconstructions of the court case, background radio interviews and following Thomas on his daily routine, director Feargal Ward tells the tale of his resistance. He’s a unique character, but what makes it such a hypnotic and mesmerising documentary is the way it’s so delicately constructed. It’s almost a hallucinatory experience. The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid is a wonderful film which weaves a modern David versus Goliath fable in such an extraordinary way.

The UK premiere of The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid takes place at Sheffield Doc/Fest on June 8. It also screens on June 11.

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