Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children. [IFC Films] Continue reading Ken Loach – I, Daniel Blake (2016)
A young woman, Janice, is living with her restrictive and conservative parents, who lead a dull working-class life, and consider their daughter to be “misbehaving” whenever she’s trying to find her own way in life. When she becomes pregnant, they force her into abortion, and hypocritically blame her for “upsetting them” when she is unable cope with the emotional and mental effect this has on her. The film is depressing and excruciatingly painful and hard to watch, as Janice is subjected to brain-washing and reproach by her parents and shockingly self-righteous and ignorant doctors (could this have been only 25 years ago???). A masterpiece, a stark and painful portrait of a hypocritical society. Continue reading Ken Loach – Family Life (1971)
A young woman lives a life filled with bad choices. She marries and has a child with an abusive thief at a young age who quickly ends up in prison. Left alone she takes up with his mate (another thief) who seems to give her some happiness but who also ends up in the nick. She then takes up with a series of seedy types who offer nothing but momentary pleasure. Her son goes missing and she briefly comes to grips with what is most important to her. Continue reading Ken Loach – Poor Cow (1967)
Fresh from the great success of The Wind that Shakes the Barley, his Palme d’Orwinning story of the “Irish Troubles,” Ken Loach returns to a contemporary setting with an absolute zinger of a film. Sharp, incisive, provocative and engaging, It’s a Free World… is also a wonderfully balanced piece of filmmaking from a director who has often been accused of having a political axe to grind.
It’s a Free World… is based upon the plight of Eastern European migrants who provide a cheap labour pool for wealthier European Union nations. The story centres around the brash and blonde Angie (Kierston Wareing), who is laid off from a recruiting company that brings workers from Poland to the United Kingdom. Angie persuades her flat-mate and long-time friend Rose (Juliet Ellis) to take a huge leap into the void and start their own recruiting agency. They buy a computer, create a website and, with Rose working out of their “office,” Angie sets out every day on the company’s new motorbike to build a clientele. Before long, they have a comfortable little business going. Foreign workers are easy to find, and Angie’s charm, guile and guts get them hired by contractors looking to shave costs at every turn. They know they are treading a fine line of legality, but Angie and Rose have a pact: they will only deal with legal immigrants. But, as they say, stuff happens! Continue reading Ken Loach – It’s a Free World… (2007)
Plot Synopsis from Allmovie
A man trying to put his life back on track gets some advice from an unexpected benefactor in this comedy-drama from acclaimed British director Ken Loach. Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) is a postman living in Manchester whose life has been slowly going off the rails ever since his wife Lily (Stephanie Bishop) walked out on him. Eric has just been released from the hospital after an auto accident, and comes home to a house that’s a mess and two teenage sons, Ryan (Gerard Kearns) and Jess (Stefan Gumbs), who regard their dad as an annoyance rather than an authority figure. Eric’s oldest child, a grown daughter named Sam (Lucy-Jo Hudson), loves him but can’t get her mother or brothers to show him any respect. And his friends from work don’t know what to do for him, except allow him to talk about football and his favorite team, Manchester United. One night, Eric is home alone, smoking some weed, and to his amazement he’s visited by an apparition of Eric Cantona, the French footballer who was a star for Manchester United in the 1990s until he retired and dropped out of sight. Cantona’s ghost has come to give Eric a pep talk and offer him some advice on how to win Lily back, and as Eric tries to convince his wife to give him another chance, Cantona periodically appears to coach him in the ways of romance.
Looking For Eric was an official selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival Continue reading Ken Loach – Looking for Eric (2009)
Review (Marcus Whitfield, Edinburgh University Film Society)
Ken Loach collaborates once again with Jim Allen, his partner for Days of Hope and
Hidden Agenda, on this moving story about the struggle between a group of young
political idealists fighting against the Franco regime during the Spanish Civil War. The
film received international acclaim not only for the outside perception of the British
writer and director but also for an undocumented part of Spanish history that dealt with
the ordinary men and women that took up the struggle. Continue reading Ken Loach – Land and Freedom [+Extras] (1995)
When recovering alcoholic and amateur football manager Joe (Peter Mullan) falls for health worker Sarah, who should know better, they both suspect the romance may be a bad idea, but it blossoms nevertheless. However, the lovers have very different ideas about how to deal with the problems Glaswegian life throws at them, and when Joe is forced to do some drug running to pay off a debt, their tentative relationship is in danger of spluttering to a halt. Continue reading Ken Loach – My Name Is Joe [+extras] (1998)