Tuesday, September 12, 2006

DAMN me BILL c thought Lynda

Kenneth Loach (born June 17, 1936), known as Ken Loach, is an English television and film director, known for his social realist style and socialist themes.


Born in Nuneaton, England, Loach studied law at St Peter's College, Oxford. He started out as an actor in repertory theatre, but in the early 1960s moved into television direction and was credited in this role on early episodes of Z-Cars in 1962. Loach, though, made his greatest impact in the medium through docu-dramas, notably the socially influential Cathy Come Home (1966). In the late 1960s he started directing films, and made Kes, the story of a troubled boy and his kestrel, based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines. It remains perhaps his best known film in Britain.

Carol White as the title character in the 1966 BBC television play Cathy Come Home, one of Loach's most famous works.

The 1970s and 80s were less successful, with his films suffering from poor distribution, lack of interest and political censorship. His film The Save the Children Fund Film (1971) was commissioned by the charity, who disliked it so much they attempted to have the negative destroyed. It has yet to be shown in public. He was also commissioned by Channel 4 to make A Question of Leadership, a documentary on the UK miners' strike. However, the programme was not broadcast by Channel 4, a decision Loach claimed was politically motivated.

However, the 1990s saw Loach return to form, with the production of a series of critically acclaimed and popular films. During this period he was also three times awarded prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.

He directed the Courtroom Drama reconstructions in the Docu-film McLibel, about the longest trial in English history.

In December 2003, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Birmingham.

In May 2006, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship at the BAFTA TV Awards.

In November 2004, he was elected to the national council of the Respect coalition.

On 28 May 2006, Ken won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a controversial view of the Irish War of Independence between the Irish Republican Army and the British, and the subsequent Irish Civil War during the 1920s. The film has been heavily criticised by sections of the British media.

Ken Loach lives with his family in Bath, England where he is a supporter and shareholder in Bath City F.C. He is also on the National Council of the left wing Respect Coalition.

Film style

Loach's film work is characterized by a particular view of realism; he strives in every area of filmmaking to emphasize genuine interplay between actors, to the point where some scenes in his films appear unscripted. Rather than employing method actors, he prefers unknown talent who have had some of the actual life experience of the characters they portray - so much so that many professional actors aspiring to work with Loach will often pretend to be actual construction labourers or other working class types called for in his script.[1]. For Bread and Roses, he chose two leading actors who had experience of union organizing and life as an immigrant. The lead actress in the film, Pilar Padilla, actually had to learn English in order to play the part.

He tries to make sure that actors express as genuinely as possible the feelings of their characters by filming the story in order, and crucially, not giving the actors the script until a few minutes before the filming. Frequently in a scene, only some of the actors will know what is going to happen - the others will often be able to express genuine surprise shock or sadness because they really are hit with the events of the scene.

Two examples: in Kes the boy actor, discovering the dead bird at the end, believed that the director had actually killed the bird he had become quite close to during the filming (in fact he had used a dead bird found elsewhere). In Raining Stones one of the actresses visited at her house by a loan shark had no idea that he was going to force her to take off her wedding ring and give it him as part payment. There are many other examples.

Ken Loach is a strong opponent of censorship within films and he was outraged at the certificate given to Sweet Sixteen (it was given an 18). Loach himself said; I think it was a very silly decision, such a patronising attitude as well. People are rarely hurt by swear words, yet you see scenes of violence depicted in films often with a 12 certificate. Some of these films have violence for the sake of it, try and push the certification boundaries. I think in my films that the violence is necessary to portray realism, it’s important to the narrative. And yes, it does put a smokescreen on society because it uses violence as a source of entertainment rather than its actual meaning



Z Cars (series, 1962)

Diary of a Young Man (1964)

3 Clear Sundays (1965)

Up the Junction (1965)

The End of Arthur's Marriage (1965)

Coming Out Party (1965)

Cathy Come Home (1966) (as Kenneth Loach)

In Two Minds (1967)

The Golden Vision (1968)

The Big Flame (1969)

The Rank and the File (1971) - part of the Play for Today series.

After a Lifetime (1971)

A Misfortune (1973)

Days of Hope (mini-series, 1975)

The Price of Coal (1977)

Auditions (1980)

A Question of Leadership (1981)

The Red and the Blue: Impressions of Two Political Conferences - Autumn 1982 (1983)

Questions of Leadership (1983)

The View From the Woodpile (1989)



Poor Cow (1967)

Kes (1969) (as Kenneth Loach)

The Save the Children Fund Film (1971)

Family Life (1971)

Black Jack (1979)

The Gamekeeper (1980)

Looks and Smiles (1981) (as Kenneth Loach)

Which Side Are You On? (1984)

Fatherland (1986)

Hidden Agenda (1990). Cannes Special Jury Prize.

Riff-Raff (1990). Shown with subtitles in the USA, because of British dialects.

Raining Stones (1993). Cannes Special Jury Prize.

Ladybird Ladybird (1994)

Land and Freedom (1995). FIPRESCI International Critics Prize and the Cannes Ecumenical Jury Prize.

A Contemporary Case for Common Ownership (1995)

Carla's Song (1996)

The Flickering Flame (1997)

My Name Is Joe (1998)

Bread and Roses (2000)

The Navigators (2001)

Sweet Sixteen (2002)

Ae Fond Kiss... (2004)

Tickets (2005), along with Ermanno Olmi and Abbas Kiarostami

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) Palme d'Or, Cannes

These Times (2007) (Currently in pre-production)

External links

Ken Loach at the Internet Movie Database

Ken Loach at SensesOfCinema.com

Ken Loach Filmography

Interview with Loach about My Name is Joe

Interview with Loach from 1996 about Land and Freedom

Interview with Loach from 1998

A biography

Biography from BFI's screenonline

Posters and Stills Gallery from the BFI

Interview: Ken Loach about Media, Culture and the Prospects for a New Liberatory Project, Democracy&Nature, Volume 5, 1999.


Blogger Mike Begnal said...

Have you seen his new one yet, The Wind That Shakes The Barley-- about the Irish War of Independence and Civil War....

5:39 PM  

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