In Conversation with Ken Loach
ID: 3DD-01-0005
Format: HD

Legendary British filmmaker Ken Loach discusses his early career and the difficulty in getting films made in the 70's and in particular the 80's, a decade of Thatcherism and hardship for the majority of the country and a difficult decade to get films made. Loach went on to make documentaries for TV but struggled to get them aired because of their political content, in particular the disgraceful treatment of the coal miners during their union strike by the police force and government. Hidden Agenda 1990 was a film about the troubles in Northern Ireland and came Loach's way through Jim Allen, head of Columbia Pictures. Loach goes on to talk about the critics role in his career, how a couple have been very supportive of his work, but rarely he adds do they get to the essence of the film, the ideas are never discussed or scrutinised. Loach mentions one critic comparing him to a Nazi propagandist re his films on the subject of Northern Ireland. Riff-Raff 1991 Loach describes wanting to make a funny and authentic film, so he and writer Bill Jessie wrote the film which was shown during Directors Fortnight at Cannes, sadly Jessie died shortly after they finished filming. Loach discusses his own particular way of directing, he never shows his actors the whole script, leaving room to film authentic responses from them as the story unfolds. He gives an example of this in Carla's Song and capturing actor Robert Carlyle in a particularly dramatic scene. Kes 1969 Loach talks about the central metaphor of the film, 'a young boy from a broken working class family who trains this Kestrel, the Kestrel sours has massive dignity, presence and freedom but he always come back.' Loach then goes on to discuss how he initially became interested in film, as a teenager he would go to his local cinema and watch 'continental films' because 'they were a bit racier.' Loach says that he was never entranced by American cinema or big film stars, instead he was interested by the Italian neorealism movement, cinema could be about real life. The Wind That Shakes The Barley 2006 won at Cannes, Loach feels this helped enormously in Europe, and offers the fact that the UK distributed the film less than anywhere else in Europe. Looking for Eric 2009 Loach discusses working with footballing legend Eric Cantona in his debut acting role, he praises his professionalism and dedication. Loach talks about what is critical to him in making films, to always remain loyal to the central idea, to retain the essential core and to cast people you believe in to tell the story. He's never fully satisfied with any of his films, this makes him eager to carry on, the moment he's satisfied, it's time to stop. He advises young filmmakers to get to the root of why the world is the way it is, he misses 'intellectual vigour'. Loach closes by saying 'don't do impressionistic things about the surface, which is the real meaning of the word radical.'