The Fight Goes On – Ken Loach

“If you’re not angry, what kind of person are you?” Britain’s most political filmmaker Ken Loach […] Read more

“If you’re not angry, what kind of person are you?” Britain’s most political filmmaker Ken Loach has spent the past half-century making films that shake with anger, venting out the frustration and humiliation to survival faced by the disenfranchised. Last year he made his angriest film yet, I, Daniel Blake , which won him his second Palme d’Or at Cannes. Still raging at age 80, his creativity is ignited from an abyss of darkness incarcerated by the ossified political system.

I, Daniel Blake is in many ways like Cathy Come Home, his seminal 1966 film which raised public awareness of homelessness and resulted in a parliamentary debate. Themes on exploitation, the indignity of unemployment, the resilience and humor of working-class people are constantly explored in his social-realistic docu-dramas such as Raining Stones (1993), Ladybird Ladybird (1994), which give the poor a voice against the bureaucracy. With his no-frills visual style and lean, sequential narratives, Loach is not out to impress anyone with techniques. Yet, his ability to capture the authenticity of experience and soul of ordinary people has made him both a skilful artist and a crusading social critic.

A thorn in the establishment’s eye, Loach has never yielded despite suffering from ban and censorship in the Thatcher era, even during the most difficult time when he, to his shame, had to make a commercial for McDonald’s. An extremely fertile period came after the “wilderness” days, as the director struck back with exceptional films including Land and Freedom (1995) and The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006), which won him international acclaims including his first Cannes Palme d’Or and later, the Berlinale Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievements.

An eternal fighter against social injustice, Loach, beyond doubt, will not go gently into that good night, and will continue to rage against the dying of the light.

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