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Historical background
The film is inspired by real historical facts about the 3 October 1981. The British government made no
troubles that happened in Northern Ireland especial- public concessions to the strikers, while the republi-
ly with the hunger strikes in the prisons. can Sinn Fein party emerged as a political force.
This episode seriously inflamed the sectarian 'Trou-
The movie takes place in the Maze Prison, in Nor- bles' in Northern Ireland.
thern Ireland, in 1981. Years ago in real life in 1978,
Republican prisoners began a 'no-wash' or 'dirty' By Eva, Roseni, Jaber & Andjela
protest after disagreements with prison authorities
over sanitary facilities and accusations of brutality.
Before that, they even did a 'blanket protest'.

In the movie, we see Davey Gillen, a man who has

just been incarcerated, and who refuses to wear the
uniform because he does not consider himself a
common criminal. The movie reflects faithfully the
history. In deed, we can see the Blanket Protest mo-
vement, the inmates share disgusting cells. Bobby
Sands is the principal character because he is the
leader of all the protests that happened in jail.

In the movie, the prisoners refuse to wear civilian

clothes offered by the prison management so a riot
breaks out. Violence is an oil stain and no prison
guard is safe anymore. After these protests, a guard
was even shot in the head. Bobby Sands announ-
ces to the priest that he is about to start a new hun-
ger strike in order to obtain a special status for the
IRA's political prisoners. At the end of the movie,
Bobby sands dies after surviving 66 days of hunger
strikes. After, his deaths others died and it allowed
them to have some of the demands the wanted.

In real life, the hunger strikes by republican priso-

ners in Northern Ireland's Maze prison brought to a
head five years of protest for their right to be treated
as 'special category' political prisoners rather than
criminals. As we saw in the movie, the first to die
was the IRA leader in the Maze, Bobby Sands. In all,
10 prisoners died before the strike was called off on

Hunger is a Irish movie directed by Steve McQueen At the end it tells that he was elected in the United
. It was released in 2008. Kingdom Parliament while he was striking . Other
prisoners died after and the gouvernement accep-
It talks about the Irish hunger strike in 1981 and the ted some demands of the Irish prisoners but they
last remaining days of the leader of IRA Bobby did not give them the political statute.
The movie Hunger historically speaking is very accu-
First of all the strike began with the Blanket Protest rate. Except for some little details like the first strike
in1976, the Irish prisoners refused to wear their uni- or the reaction and combat of the Irish people out-
form and chose to stay naked. They only had a side of the prison. The goal of the movie was mainly
blanket. This protestation is clearly shown in the mo- to show the viewers the inimaginable and horrifying
vie at the very beginning when the new prisoner Da- conditions of the Irish prisoners and their battles.
vey Gillen came and refuse to wear the uniform , he They had done many protestations and hunger
is send naked in his cell. The prisoners are beaten strike that was accurately represented in the movie. 

and treated very badly in the movie. After that the
Dirty Protest followed, all the prisoners did not wash
themselves and they covered their cell walls with MONTANT Theo

their faeces. It is very hard to watch but this protest PANCIERA Leonardo

actually happened in 1978. NDZIE-EWODO Jean Pierre

MARCIA Valentino

After these protests, the hunger strikes began when SADIQ Rabia
the government still did not hear the prisoners re-
commendations and demand to be considered as a
political prisoners. In 1980 the first hunger strike
started in which seven prisoners participated and
was ended after 53 days. This was not shown in the
movie but the second strike was. In the film a priso-
ner called Bobby Sands started the hunger strike.
He did that to resist the government and hoped that
the Irish people would support him and put pres-
sure on the British government.

This event happened, Bobby Sands was a ex-offi-

cer of the IRA and as it is told in the movie his strike
lasted 66 days then he died . We can see the jour-
ney of the hunger strike , he is in a very bad condi-
tion he loses a lots of weight , he can’t even move
and walk by himself . This part of the movie descri-
bes the difficulty and the horrible death that the
man and other prisoners had gone through. The mo-
vie finishes off with his death .

Characters analysis +
Character analysis them around on the floor. In the Maze Prison, the prison
officers show an unbelievable amount of abuse and phy-
The movie Hunger concerns the opposition between the sical pain, in order to make the Irish giving up on their
Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British state in Nor- protest.
thern Ireland, in Belfast. The action is set in 1981, in the
Maze Prison where we follow the “Blanket and No- Actually, these prisoners were an introduction to Bobby
Wash Protest” and the hunger strike of Irish prisoners Sands. His devotion for the Irish prisoners is mostly illus-
directed by Bobby Sands. This initiative aimed to give trated in scene when he talks to a priest named Dominic
the political statute to the Irish prisoners, who were con- Moran. During this long dialogue, the priest tries to talk
sidered as criminals . Sands out about the hunger strike he has planed. Domi-
nic doesn’t support his idea, and tries to make Sands
This movie is based on the true-story of Bobby Sands, aware of all the consequences of the hunger strike. The
who’s the protagonist. Incarcerated in the Maze Prison, priest has a more realistic vision of the movement than
he was an Irish Republican. This man is a symbol of the the Irish. Actually, Dominic won’t stop to tell the prisoner
determination of the IRA’s community. Indeed, in order that starving themselves to death won’t bring Irish’s pri-
to give Irish inmates the political statute they deserved, soner the recognition they deserve in front of the British
he organized the hunger strikes, which consisted on government; he also talks about all the other convicts
starvation until death. The purpose was also to bring who will die just because Bobby decided to kill himself,
people’s awareness to the living’s condition of Irish pri- according to him. But, instead of changing his mind, the
soners detained by the British government. Irish prisoner showed the priest an incredible obstinacy
for his own idea. Here, Bobby appears as an Irish hero,
Indeed, the British government was led by the Prime Mi- decided to give prisoners the right human living condi-
nister Margaret Thatcher who gave a public speech in tions. This perception is even more depicted when he
which i, she told that “there is no political crime, only a dies, after 66 days of starvation.
criminal one” about the Irish nationalists. Her lack of
empathy toward them was the main point of Bobby Performance analysis
Sands anger which would lead to the hunger strike.
The performance of Michael Fassbender was brilliant.
But, before being brought to the character of Sands, the He had to change physically to play his character, it
spectator follows the arrival of a new prisoner, Davey shows that he was totally devoted to his role. Even
Gillen. Sharing his cell with another one, called Lohan though we wanted his character to stop the "Hunger
Raymond. The audience witness their reckless beha- Strikes", by the way Michael was acting we understand
viour towards the jail’s guardian. Indeed, during the un- at some moments in the movie why he does it and why
dressing process of Davey, which would have led him to he doesn't want to give up. We can also imagine what
wear the jail’s uniform. Instead of following the proce- he's going through very precisely by the way it is filmed
dure ,he took part in the “blanket protest” and refused and produced but also through some scenes when he
to wear it. In their cell, Lohan teaches Davey all the rules spits blood. The actor is very expressive, we can totally
of the protest directed by Sands, which bring them to understand just looking at his eyes or face he is in dan-
being totally against the British government. In front of ger without even looking at his body. I'll had that it's real-
these reckless prisoners, the guardians act violently, wi- ly difficult to play a sick person with credibility which he
thout hesitating when it comes to strike the Irish. Throu- did so it's a great performance.
ghout the movie, the jailor act without mercy towards
the prisoner; when they don’t want to wash themselves,
they make them to go to the bathroom while dragging

Hunger is an Irish film directed by Steve Rodney
McQueen in 2008. Like Shadow Dancer which
talked about this intense period of conflicts
between the Irish nationalists and the Unionists,
Hunger represents The Troubles with its cold at-
mosphere and its common violence. The charac-
ters, their construction, performance and their con-
clusion, serve the ideas developed by the director
and can stand for testimonies of the past. First of
all, we can see that the characters are evolving in a
society where political conflicts are considered as
crimes (“There is no such things as political murder,
political bombing or political violence. There is only
criminal murder, criminal bombing and criminal vio-
lence. We will not compromise on this.”, Margaret
Thatcher.) Therefore, the political conflicts led by the
Irish Catholics were highly prohibited. Thus, the cha-
racters live in a place where two forces are oppo-
sed, the Republicans and the English Unionists.

The first main character is a middle-aged man, na-

med Raymond Lohan shown in the first scenes of
the film. He is presented as a person, living with a
woman in a normal house. He seems to live a good
life, but some scenes later, he is shown washing his Hunger also represents the point of view of its priso-
bloody hands in his bathroom. We will learn later ners, who serve the explanation of the conditions in
that he is a guard in a prison concentrating political the prisons and the organization of the revolts,
criminals, mainly Irish Catholics from Belfast. He mainly hunger strikes, in 1981. In fact, the film de-
helps the security forces to transport the prisoners picts this atmosphere with two characters.
to the bathroom in order to wash them and cut their
hair, after their hygiene strike. The state of his hands - Davey Gillen, who is imprisoned at the
results in the damages he took when the Irish natio- beginning of the film for 6 years. The spectators get
nalists are struggling. This character is quite unique to know about the bad repercussions of this conflict
in his development, especially when he is shown in- and the imprisonment of Irish republicans, with the
sensitive around the laughs of the others. This uni- evolution, dehumanization of this character, which
que development is also represented later in the puts forward a contrast between his first and last
film, when he goes to the retirement home, in order appearance in the movie.
to see his mother. His intern feelings exposed, he is
being shot in the head by a faceless man. - Gerry Campbell, the cellmate of Gillen imprisoned
for 12 years, who is first shown in the corner of the
cell. He is probably the first prisoner that we see in

the film. His physical appearance and health, ne of the movie, which depicts a “normal” society
shocks the spectator but also reveal the conse- with the presentation of Raymond Lohan, and the
quences of these years of imprisonment. rest of the film, which represents a gloomy at-
mosphere. This contrast suggests this incomprehen-

The rebellion of the Irish prisoners will be pushed

forward thanks to the most important character of
the film: Bobby Sands. His first appearance will be
the first time we will attend to a direct confrontation
- between a prisoner and a guard. He will also cause
the injury of Raymond Lohan by struggling, which
can represent the determination of the Irish nationa-
Their relation creates a second contrast at the begin- lists. After being washed and shaven, he will meet
ning of the movie between their appearances. his parents, Rosaleen and John Sands, who will ask
Gillen, who was imprisoned recently, is opposed to him if he is fine. The will of Bobby to rebel against
Gerry, already suffering from these conditions. This the English Unionists will lead him to hope about
opposition will disappear, as the film progresses, being the new head of the Republican movement.
putting forward their similarities. These two con-
trasts show the process of dehumanization that be-
gins with the scene where Gillen removes his clo-
thes. It can also create a link with the spectators,
who will follow this degradation. This phenomenon
will evolve at a greater scale, as we see all the Irish
prisoners, naked, weak, and unclean. Finally, these
two characters introduce the will of resisting to the
Unionists, which will be represented by revolts and
strikes. In fact, by trying to communicate with
others with messages, radio, and by confronting the
guards, they reinforce the opposition and the perma-
nent conflict between these two organizations. The
prisoners will also be able to be helped by their rela-
tives, who will give them discreetly food, capsules,
objects, etc. This element of the film suggests the
differences between what is told to the population
about these prisons and the real conditions lived by
the Irish nationalists. For example, they wear clo-
His discussion with Dominic Moran, a priest of Kil-
thes in front of them although they are totally naked
rea, will reinforce his will to act and to lead the 75
in their cells. Thus, the spectator can identify to the-
volunteers for the hunger strike of the 1st of March.
se people, who may don’t know the reality. It is also
In fact, we will learn through this dialogue that he
represented by the differences between the first sce-
was already assigned to this role, at 12 years old, in

Gweedore, as he was taking entire responsibility in red of real events that occurred in the centre like the
front of the other boys of Cork and the priest that Blanket Protest, from 1976 and 1981, and the Dirty
was coming, by killing a foal found in the forest. We Protest, between 1978 and 1981. During this period,
will also learn that there will be no negotiations 300 prisoners decided to live naked, without taking
through this rebellion and that Bobby believe in the care of their hygiene and of the prison’s cells by uri-
union of Ireland. The priest will call this movement a nating, putting their excrements on the walls. Like in
suicide. After the hunger strike, we find Bobby in the film, Sands is known for having organized a hun-
the infirmary of the prison. He is very skinny and ger strike the 1st of March 1981, which will put
looks weak. This scene follows the dialogue with forward the conditions of the conflict between the
the priest, which embodies the repression of this English government and Northern Ireland. After
movement, of the determination of Bobby to con- being elected Republican deputy, Bobby Sands was
front the other side. Even though his parents came quickly stopped by the English government of Mar-
to see him and a man from the Ulster Defense Asso- garet Thatcher, by taking his rights. Bobby Sands
ciation tried to heal him, he will get weaker as the will die the fifth of May 1981, after 65 days without
film progress until the end, when he will pass out eating anything. The government will remain on his
and die, near a mother praying for him. During this position: “If Mr. Sands persisted in his wish to com-
moment, he saw himself in the past, running in the mit suicide, which was his choice. The Government
forest that he was comparing to the Arizona. would not force medical treatment upon him.”.

Hunger, by creating links with true events of this in-

tense period of conflicts, put these inspirations in
these characters, who create a direct connection
with the spectators and participate to the will of ma-
Hunger creates ny Irish republicans to show the true conditions of
links with The Trou- The Troubles, in the Irish prisons, even decades af-
bles thanks to its ter.
characters. In fact,
Bobby Sands was a
real Irish resistant
born in Newtownab-
bey in 1954. He was
born in an important
religious conflict
between Catholics and Protestants, which will be
presented in the film with the priest that we will see
in jail talking to the Irish prisoners and the Dominic
Moran, a parishioner. He will begin his acts of resis-
tance by joining the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in
1972. He will be arrested many times and impriso-
ned in Her Majesty’s Prison Maze, for wearing a
weapon. The revolts presented in Hunger are inspi-

Direction + the plot
Hunger is a 2008 British-Irish historical drama film Prison officers forcibly and violently removed the pri-
directed by Steve McQueen, about the 1981 Irish soners from their cells and beat them before pinning
hunger strike . them down to cut their long hair and beards, which
are grown as part of their protest.
Steve McQueen is a British artist, director and
screenwriter best known for his films Hunger, Sha- The prisoner resists by spitting in Lohan's face, who
me and 12 Years a Slave, which won the Academy responds by punching him in the face, only this time
Award for best picture. missing, and punching the wall. Lohan is then seen
washing his hands as his hands are bloodied, in a
With this film, he just wanted to shoot the strongest similar way similar to the first scene.
film he could possibly do.The movie is divided in
two parts corresponding to two different shapes of Later, when prison management offers prisoners civi-
violence. The first one is showing physical violence lian clothing, a riot explode. The violence is oil-stai-
and brutality against the prisoners, explicit violence. ned and no more prison guards are safe. Raymond
The second one is more discerning but not less Lohan is shot in the head, by an unnamed IRA as-
hard to cope with. This kind of violence is implicit, a sassin and dies slumped into his non-responsive
psychological violence . mother's lap.

We follow the daily life of political Irish prisoners in Bobby Sands then talks with Father Dominic Moran
the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland. It’s an interpreta- who is a priest. He announces that he’s about to
tion of the highly emotive events surrounding the start a new hunger strike in order to obtain the sta-
1981 IRA Hunger Strike led by Bobby Sands. At this tus for political prisoners of the IRA. Here begin the
time the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher second kind of intense violence. Finally, Sands is
has a very hard policy against the supporters of the shown many weeks into his hunger strike, with so-
IRA. She couldn't tolerate the violence and the res all over his body, kidney failure, low blood pres-
claim of the Northern Ireland independentists sure, stomach ulcers, and the inability to stand all
against England. by himself. Sands' parents stay for his final few
days and when Sands dies, 66 days after beginning
The film opens with prison guard Raymond Lohan the strike, his mother is by his side.
preparing to leave for work; putting on his uniform in
the locker room, and ignoring the camaraderie of his The image increasingly purified, increasingly white,
colleagues. He’s alone. the lack of dialogue, the wounds, the violence again
and again but this time in inaction.
Davey Gillen, a new IRA prisoner, arrives at the gaol.
Due to his refusal to wear the prison uniform, he is The film ends with the metaphor of the flying birds.
labeled "non-cooperative" and is sent to his cell na- It’s not a question of showing the world of these in-
ked, with only a blanket for warmth. They did this to human prisons, of giving testimony or supporting
protest against the British Conservative govern- the fight of the IRA. It’s about capturing the principle
ment's who refuse to reinstate their status as politi- of freedom in man, through sacrifice.
cal prisoners.
by Wilhan, Lucas, Lou &Tyrika

Editing,Camera angles
& cinematography
In order to analyze the way in which he movie was After, there is an extremely long scene which seems
filmed, we are going to focus on various scene of very unnecessary for the viewer. It is the scene
the film. when a worker is cleaning the pee of the prisoners.
It seems like a slow motion to create suspense. Fur-
First, the film starts with the shot of a washbasin thermore the scene was just filmed with a static
with hot water. A man takes off his rings and puts shot so it’s accentuate the slowness of the scene.
them aside. He turns the running tap off and careful-
ly places his hands in the water. We just see his mir- When the leading man, is on a separate bedroom,
ror reflection. He takes a deep breath, opens his there are many high-angles shot that shows he is
eyes and looks at himself on the mirror. We never alone before the arrival his parents who are sad to
hear his voice. All the action is shown with images. see him in this condition.
Thanks to this and many close shot the spectator
focuses on the foreground, on the action itself. The tilt down shows a crack in the wall before sho-
wing a child. We understand that it’s his son.
Then we see him taking his breakfast thanks to a
medium shot and we see his food with a close up The camera trembles on the mother who is slee-
on it. We also see a woman in her house from the ping.
There is an important montage cut when we see a
We think that the scene when the man puts his scene in the eye of the man. He sees his son. We
poop in the walls is important because the specta- see his dream.
tor feels disgusted. The zoom forward on it accen-
tuate this. And then there is a shot of the man There is a High-angle shot when there is a sinking
“playing” with a fly. There is a zoom too in this sce- tear on his face.
ne on the fingers and the fly.
The last scene is when the cadaver is taken away.
The scene of the maintenance is very long and fil- It’s one more time a static shot.
med with mainly static long shot. In the scene, the
Finally, mainly of the scene are made with montage
spectator have the time to see all the elements in
cut. There are mostly close shot and zoom on their
the foreground like in the background.
faces. They are filmed very closely. But we can see
The long shot when a man is cleaning the walls in- different angles too and different point of views. So-
crease the action that is filthy. metimes they shot the scene more than four times
to have the perfect scene. Thanks to the perfect
There is the scene with the prison guard smoking shots we can see lots of feelings, physical sensa-
against the wall outside in the snow. This long track- tions and emotions.
ing shot focuses towards him, and the film cuts to
his hands, where everything else is thrown out of fo- The film was subtitled in many languages.
cus. Then the hands fall out of frame and after that
By Marina, Jessica, Anna, ThéoD., Anais & Meredith
there is a series of totally blurred images of his body
and his face.

Hunger is a movie which came out in November
2008 and realized by Steve McQueen. In this film
we can find many camera movements . For exam-
ple, sometimes, the image is blurred. We can also
underline that there is a lot of close-up, mostly in
the beginning of the movie. In that respect, we can
see precisely the action even when something very
violent is happennig. Steve McQueen wanted to
show the violence.
In his interview we also learn that he wanted to
create the stongest film he could possibly do. That’s
probably why the violence is omnipresent in the mo-

To me, the end of the movie is the most shocking

part of it. Indeed, we see the slow death of Bobby
Sands during his hunger strike. Steve McQueen
shows us all the horror of Bobby’s hunger strike  :
his disturbing thinness, his wounds, his empty eyes,
the pain of his family.
We can also notice that the film’s first half is silent
and observing, but then we find a focus  : Bobby

Here we get a very important scene of this movie  :

the dialogue between Bobby Sands and the priest.
This scene lasts 22 minutes. In this scene Bobby
Sands talks to a priest about his plan to starve him-
self to death. In this scene, 17,5 minutes are in a sin-
gle shot and the faces of the characters are in the
dark. By doing this Steve McQueen wanted «  to
By using a clever process Steve makes us under-
push the audience away  » and «  to make it intima-
stand that Bobby is dying  : the crows flying above
te  », as he says in an interview. Indeed, we can only
see the silhouettes of the characters and we can
hardly see their expressions. With this scene he also
wanted «  to have action and reaction in the same
situation  ».If he had used a classic method (one ca-
mera on the shoulder of each character) this scene
would have been a conversation with the audience.
Thanks to the single shot which includes Bobby and
the priest, they are having a conversation together. Hunger is an Irish film directed by Steve Rodney
McQueen in 2008. Like Shadow Dancer which

5 Music and sound
effects + special
effects + lighting
Hunger is a movie directed by Steve Now let’s talk about the specials effects
McQueen, in 2008. The sound production and the use of the light in the movie. The
is very particular and original. Indeed, special effects are as rare as the music,
throughout the movie you cannot hear a indeed the only moment in all the movie
single musical note. when a special effect appears is during the
end of the hunger strike of Bobby Sands
The sound design is directed by David Hol- (Michael Fassebender). Just before the
mes and Leo Abrahams, the composer of flashback to his childhood Bobby is victim
the ending the soundtrack is Michael Gor- of hallucinations because of the hunger.
don. The ending is the only moment in the Thanks to the special effects we can ad-
movie when we can hear music, more parti- mire a fly of raven seen by the starving
cularly the piece «Industry» performed by man. During this passage we can hear a
Michael Gordon. noise mixing birds calls and calls of the suf-
The sound effects thus have a central
place in the movie, the plan of appearance Concerning the light, in the movie we can
of those sound effects is always the same: distinguish two different ways of using the
A scene is on screen and a loud and sim- light which vary according to the envi-
ple sound appears, the sound is very repre- ronment of the scene. When the scene ta-
sentative of the scene. For example when kes place in closed and narrow space, like
a guard of the prison is in his car listening the cells for example, the light is dark and
to the radio, we only hear the sound of the very oppressive. On the contrary, in the out-
radio. Later in the movie one Irish detainee side of the penitentiary the light is powerful
is washed by strength, the only sounds and immaculate. This type of light is also
that we can hear are the guard’s blows present in a particular place in the prison,
and the loud noise of the water when the the parlor, while Bobby Sands is talking
prisoner struggles. with the priest the light is everywhere and
encompass them.
In conclusion this movie draft in an interes-
ting way the question of the sound in the
films by choosing not to use music, only
loud, violent and expressive sounds ef- By Lamia/Noe/Laurie/Jarod/Kylian/Ro-
fects. mane

Nigel/ Hugo / Rayane / Taha/ Ethmane
 ambient theme. Moreover, the absence of

 notable sound effect in the majority of the
In Hunger, Steve Mc Queen tells the death movie grounds the movie and helps the vie-
story of Bobby Sands. He was an Irish na- wer to enter the movie and understand the
tionalist from the IRA who was imprisoned boredom felt by the prisoners. However
at HM prison maze and who went on hun- there are several moments when the movie
ger strike. It centered on five demands:
 is very loud: most notably when the guards
beat them up and when the prisoners
wreck their rooms. These moments create
1/The right not to wear a prison uniform; a contrast with the rest of the movie and
help us feel all the pain the prisoners went
2/The right not to do prison work;
through. These breakdowns help highlight
3/The right of free association with other another message of the movie: the vio-
prisoners, and to organise educational and lence inflicted and endured by the priso-
recreational pursuits; ners is unnecessarily brutal. Indeed, at the
end of the beat up, we can see a young
4/The right to one visit, one letter, and one guard crying and the prisoners go up to
parcel per week; “killing themselves” to obtain what they
want. This unbearable violence is also ac-
5/Full restoration of remission lost through
centuated by the lighting and colors used.
the protest.

Sean Bobbit, the director of photography,

used a green filter on the majority of the
The prisoners went on hunger strike for the-
film, especially in every scene that shows
se reasons because, as depicted by this
violence and imprisonment. This help to
movie, the conditions in the prison were
make the movie even more horrible and un-
horrible. The entire movie aims to make
bearable. Here are some examples:

the spectator uncomfortable. It makes the
movie unforgettable and forces every vie-
wer to remember the tragic story of bobby
sands and his 9 terrorists’ companions.
First of all, the music in this movie, compo-
sed by Leo Abrahams and David Holmes,
is very discreet and nothing more than an



And here is the snapshot that perfectly re-
presents the colors choice in this movie:

But a blue filter is also present in a few sce-
nes where characters are alone and thin-
king about the morality and consequences
of their acts. Like when the guard is alone
under the snow after violently punching a

Or when Bobby Sands is suffering in his
bed :


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