Director’s Chair Introduction: Ken Loach

by Tony Cogan · March 27, 2017 · Director's Chair · 1 Comment

Deadline: 29th April 2017

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Hello everyone, it’s once again time to announce the director that will be highlighted for Director’s Chair. This month, after going for a more fantasy themed director last time, I thought I’d go for more gritty realism, and in tackling this element of the film industry, I could think of no director that better encapsulates this style than Ken Loach.

Now Ken Loach is one of the most important directors to have come out of the UK. His films, tinged with his socialist ideals, have shed a light on some of the most damaging aspects of British society. From his work on TV, most notably with Cathy Come Home (the power of which led to the formation of the charity, Shelter), to his films, most recently generating debate about the welfare system in Parliament with I, Daniel Blake, Loach has always been a firebrand, called patriot and traitor in equal measure, even having a documentary he made about Save the Children being banned by the charity for decades. That’s not to say Loach’s films are always depressing though (although a lot of them are). Kes was rated by the BFI as one of top 10 films that you need to watch before 14, whilst he has gone into a more comedic realm (with some elements of drama) with Looking for Eric and The Angel’s Share.

His relationship to actors also needs to be mentioned. Oftentimes, Loach uses unknown actors, giving them their first big break in the film industry (there have only been a handful of times when he’s used a, relatively, big name (at the time of filming), including Cillian Murphy in The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Ray Winstone in Ladybird, Ladybird, Adrien Brody in Bread and Roses, Frances McDormand, Brian Cox and Brad Dourif in Hidden Agenda and Eric Cantona in Looking for Eric, along with his use of comedians, such as John Bishop in Route Irish, Ricky Tomlinson in Riff-Raff and Dave Johns in I, Daniel Blake. He is also fond of improvisation and so-called ‘enforced method acting’, which he used to great effect in Kes in regards to how he filmed the ending.

Once again, I’m looking for any posts that you’ve made on the films of Ken Loach, please send them to [email protected]. As a reminder, here are the films of Ken Loach that you can cover:

  • Poor Cow
  • Kes
  • Family Life
  • Black Jack
  • Looks and Smiles
  • Fatherland
  • Hidden Agenda
  • Riff-Raff
  • Raining Stones
  • Ladybird, Ladybird
  • Land and Freedom
  • Carla’s Song
  • My Name is Joe
  • Bread and Roses
  • The Navigators
  • Sweet Sixteen
  • 11’09″01 September 11
  • Ae Fond Kiss
  • Tickets
  • McLibel
  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley
  • It’s A Free World
  • Looking for Eric
  • Route Irish
  • The Angel’s Share
  • The Spirit of ’45
  • Jimmy’s Hall
  • I, Daniel Blake

I look forward to reading the pieces you send in.