Ken Loach stars in film centre retrospective
In a talk at the Filmoteca de Catalunya, the English director said he doesn’t see a social program from the independence movement “to challenge (that) of the Madrid government”
The Filmoteca de Catalunya film archive is holding its first large retrospective of 2018, with the projection of 16 of Ken Loach’s feature-length films. The English director has been often defined as a ‘social / socialist realist’ for his treatment of issues such as poverty, homelessness, and labour rights, although he has also rejected pigeonholing himself as such.
Socialist programs were, though, at the forefront of the speech that the filmmaker gave on January 30 at the Filmoteca. At the event to present his latest movie ‘I, Daniel Blake’ (2016), recipient of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film festival, Ken Loach commented on the current Catalan situation, through a social lens.
“It’s a house, it’s a wage, it’s health, it’s a pension, it’s schools, it's security. These are interests."
Ken Loach · film director
“What’s puzzled us” noted Loach, “is that we don’t see the social program of the independence movement that would challenge the social program of the Madrid government. And clearly,” he continued, “the interests of the working class in this region, country, area—however I should describe it—the interests of the working class people here are the same as the working class people in other parts of the Iberian Peninsula and throughout Europe."
“It’s a house, it’s a wage, it’s health, it’s a pension, it’s schools, it’s security,” detailed the director, adding: “These are interests. And I don’t know the connection between Catalan independence and advancing or retreating on those demands.”
Filmmakers write "the second draft"
When addressing questions he was asked about how cinema should deal with the issue of independence, Loach made a distinction between journalism and filmmaking. “Both are important,” he said. “On one hand, journalists leave a trace of what is happening,” meaning they record “history as it happens.”
Meanwhile, he expressed, people who make films have the hindsight to be able to “see the essence of the conflict” something which, according to the director, “can only be done retrospectively.” In other words, he added, “what we do is the second draft of the story.”
A career in social issues
Loach first found the entertainment industry through the stage door. He found the theatre when he was studying law at Oxford, but he then was drawn to the world of audiovisual arts. At the beginning of the ‘60s, through an internship with the BBC, he began working in the world of television and then, cinema, in which he later gained international recognition.
A staunch critic of Margaret Thatcher, his career began more and more defined by his political actions, and his work in film reflecting this more and more. Some of his most notable works are ‘Hidden Agenda,’ ‘Riff-Raff,’ ‘The Wind that Shakes the Roses,’ ‘Bread and Roses,’ ‘Raining Stones,’ and many more. The long-running retrospective on Ken Loach will go until February 18, when the 2012 film ‘The Angels’ Share’ will be shown.