Monday, May 23, 2016

Ken Loach PhD Acceptance Speech and Second Palme d'Or Award

In January 2015 Film-maker Ken Loach celebrated receiving an honorary degree from Liverpool Hope University by apologising to students for the way his generation wrecked the country - despite Merseyside workers’ best efforts to prevent it.

When asked of the message he will give to the young graduates today, he said: “I will say something about the fact that we owe them an apology. The world we left them is worse than the world we got given. They get to make the changes we didn’t make. It’s particularly appropriate in this city. The Liverpool dock workers fought a heroic fight for demand of work and proper secure jobs.”

He added: “We have let them down. Work is now insecure. They’ve got to change it.”

.... In May 2016 at Cannes Film Festival ....

Palme d’Or Goes to a Ken Loach Film at Cannes

British veteran director Ken Loach won his second Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival when "I, Daniel Blake", his latest social-realist drama, took the Best Picture award on Sunday.

Loach, 79, is one of only nine directors to have won the top prize at Cannes twice. Loach had won in 2006 with "The Wind That Shakes the Barley."

Addressing the Grand Theatre des Lumieres crowd in French, Loach said: "Thanks to the team, the writer (Paul Laverty), the producer (Rebecca O'Brien) and all the others.

"Thanks also to the workers of the Cannes Festival who make this event possible."

Loach remains just as passionate about social injustice as when his TV play "Cathy Come Home" shocked viewers 50 years ago with its depiction of a slide into homelessness.

Loach said he found it very strange to receive an award in such opulent surroundings given the miserable living conditions of the people who inspired his film.

“When there is despair, the people from the far right take advantage,” Loach said. “We must say that another world is possible and necessary.”

Loach slammed swingeing welfare cuts across Europe as he accepted the prize.

"We are in the grip of a project of austerity driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism that brought us to near catastrophe," he said.

"It has led to billions of people in serious hardship and many millions struggling from Greece in the east to Spain in the west … while this has brought a tiny few immense wealth."

"I, Daniel Blake", shows how Britain's social security system conspires to drive a downtrodden carpenter and a single mother of two into poverty in the northeastern city of Newcastle.

Critic Peter Bradshaw writes:

Ken Loach pick up his second Palme d’Or for I, Daniel Blake —a coldly angry indictment of food bank Britain, scripted by his longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty. It was the only film of the festival which moved me to tears; the heart-wrenching and frightening scene in the food bank itself has enormous power. This was a film of almost radical plainness, with a great performance from Dave Johns (as so often in the past, Loach has got great serious work from a comic — he has cast John Bishop and George Lopez in the past). Loach is, as I have written before, the John Bunyan of contemporary cinema. Or to use another comparison, he has directed a film which repudiates frills and nuances as firmly as a medieval mystery play. It may well be that his heartfelt idealism and Amish simplicity became a sort of Esperanto for the international jury. It was something they could all understand and endorse in each other’s company.

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