As you might know (or be able to guess!), Ken Loach is a bit of a hero of mine!
This afternoon, I went along to the Watershed to see Louise
Osmond’s impressive documentary about the great man and his work (it was its
opening screening at the Watershed… and, sadly, there were only another SIX
fans in the audience to appreciate the film!). This year will see Loach celebrate his 80th birthday, release
his 50th major work and commemorate the 50th anniversary
of his landmark television drama Cathy Come Home(!).
Loach used to run up against the establishment figures
and corporations on a regular basis and he frequently found that this ideas and
views ran against those who were due to provide the financial backing for a
project (eg. television companies who received the bulk of their income from
the government of the day) – and, so, many projects had to be abandoned.
Indeed, Loach didn’t direct a single film for 12 years in the 1980s/90s.
The documentary is a funny, provocative, revealing
account of Loach’s life and career – in fact, his unexpected humour and often “riotous
conflict” both came as somewhat surprising. Indeed, Loach’s long-term producer,
Rebecca O’Brien, was wonderfully quoted in the programme notes as saying that “Ken
can start a row in an empty room”!
He’s clearly one of the most determinedly political
filmmakers in the history of cinema… he’s fearless and utterly determined in
his work. In fact, he had decided to retire in 2013, but was so incensed by the
Tory 2015 General Election victory that he felt he still had more to say… and
the resulting film, “I, Daniel Blake”, duly won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last
month (can’t wait to see it).
When Loach eventually
dies (hopefully not for several years yet), Louise Osmond’s documentary will be
shown throughout the world… but, in the meantime, I would definitely recommend
that you see it NOW!
PS: The last Loach
film I saw at the cinema was the excellent “The Spirit of ’45” (2013). Two of
my all-time favourite Loach films are the brilliant “Kes” (1969) and “Looking
For Eric” (2009)… but, as the bloke sitting a few seats away from me this
afternoon observed: “I think they need to have a special Loach Season at the
PPS: IMPORTANT: Ken
Loach will be at the 6pm (pay-what-you-can) screening this Sunday 5 June for a
Q+A session… it’s tickets only (although I suspect it will already be a
4 weeks ago