Ken Loach

"Once the stormy petrel of the British cinema, Loach is now its national institution. Still wearing his leftist social and political consciences firmly on his sleeve, Loach has now settled into a groove of filmmaking that has both given us a reassuring number of films and earned a wider acceptance from the discerning filmgoing public." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)

Ken Loach

Director / Screenwriter
(1936- ) Born June 17, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, UK
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, France
Key Genres: Drama, Social Problem Film, Family Drama, Urban Drama, Comedy Drama, Psychological Drama, Political Drama, Romantic Drama, Coming-of-Age
Key Collaborators: Jonathan Morris (Editor), Rebecca O'Brien (Producer), Barry Ackroyd (Cinematographer), George Fenton (Composer), Martin Johnson (Production Designer), Paul Laverty (Screenwriter), Tony Garnett (Producer), Roy Watts (Editor), Fergus Clegg (Production Designer), Carol White (Leading Actress), Jim Allen (Screenwriter), Sally Hibbin (Producer)

"Ken Loach is not only Britain’s most political filmmaker, he is also its most censored—and the two are not entirely unconnected. Loach’s career illustrates all too clearly the immense difficulties facing the radical filmmaker in Britain today: the broadcasting organisations’ position within the state makes them extraordinarily sensitive sites from which to tackle certain fundamental political questions (about labour relations, ‘‘national security,’’ or Northern Ireland, for example), while the film industry, though less subject to political interference and self- censorship, simply finds Loach’s projects too ‘‘uncommercial,’’ thanks to its habitually poverty-stricken state... As Ken Loach ages, his films remain consistently provocative and politically savvy, with a deep respect for and understanding of his struggling, working class characters." - Julian Petley (International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers, 2000)
"Loach has remained steadfastly attentive to working-class experience - to such an extent that some of his films have had (or needed) "English" subtitles when released in America... For me, it is easier to respect Loach than enjoy him: he seldom has the bite of Alan Clarke, for instance. But in his dedication and seriousness, he is an exemplary figure. Even in the insane prosperity of the nineties, Loach pursued his destiny, and he grew gentler, subtler, and funnier. It was one of the most impressive developments in a filmmaker." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Ken Loach is considered one of the elder statesmen of the British film industry. This has not, however, blunted his ongoing commitment to bringing social and political issues to the screen. A socialist, Loach has built a reputation for making films that offer a sympathetic, and yet unpatronizing, view of the lives of Britain's working class." - Andy Willis (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"When discussing Ken Loach's aesthetic, critics can't avoid using words like gritty and realistic. Loach exhibits a personal modesty which is translated into his directorial style, a self-effacing cinéma vérité approach. However, there are some distinctive characteristics in his work, such as his concerns with the family unit and his ability to capture the flavour and timbre of previously undocumented lives and communities." - Lloyd Hughes (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"On television and in the cinema, Loach has contributed realistic dramas which speak passionately of social issues, yet do not demean the humanity of their characters." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"The emotional force of his films is ensured by superbly naturalistic performances, an unadorned camera style. a gritty, almost documentary approach to dialogue, milieu, and the mundane fabric of daily existence, rendered dramatic by Loach's clear political commitment." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"A movie isn't a political movement, a party or even an article. It's just a film. At best it can add its voice to public outrage." - Ken Loach
"I turned down the OBE because it's not a club you want to join when you look at the villains who've got it. It's all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest." - Ken Loach
TSPDT Guide
Recommended
Up the Junction [TV] (1965), Kes (1969) , Ladybird, Ladybird (1994), Land and Freedom (1995), Sweet Sixteen (2002), Ae Fond Kiss... (2004)
Worth a Look
Cathy Come Home [TV] (1966), Poor Cow (1967), Family Life (1971), Hidden Agenda (1990), Riff-Raff (1991), My Name is Joe (1998), Bread and Roses (2000), Tickets (2005) [also directed by Abbas Kiarostami & Ermanno Olmi], The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), It's a Free World... (2007), Looking for Eric (2009), The Spirit of '45 (2013)
Approach with Caution
Looks and Smiles (1981), Raining Stones (1993), The Angels' Share (2012)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Ken Loach / Favourite Films
The Battle of Algiers (1965) Gillo Pontecorvo, Bicycle Thieves (1948) Vittorio De Sica, Closely Watched Trains (1966) Jirí Menzel, Loves of a Blonde (1965 Milos Forman, La Promesse (1996) Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) Ermanno Olmi.
Source: Facets (2008)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Land and Freedom
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