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5 items from 2011

Ken Loach: 'the ruling class are cracking the whip'

29 August 2011 2:19 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The leftwing film director talks about the riots, his early work on television and the documentary he made for Save the Children 40 years ago that is about to be screened for the first time

About halfway through our interview, I call Ken Loach a sadist. The mild-mannered, faintly mole-like film director blinks hard, chuckles, and carries on. We are discussing a key aspect of his film-making: the element of surprise. Loach has spent his career depicting ordinary people, telling working-class stories as truthfully as possible, and he works distinctively – filming each scene in order, often using non-professional actors, encouraging improvisation.

They don't tend to see a full script in advance, and move through his films as confused as the audience about what lurks around the next corner. I ask Loach which surprise was most memorable, and he laughs incongruously through a few examples. He talks about an incident when an actor walked through a door, »

- Kira Cochrane

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Clip joint: Strikes

29 June 2011 4:19 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

In anticipation of the public sector strikes on Thursday 30 June, here are five great cinematic portrayals of downing tools

For the most part, cinema celebrates capitalism. From the wild frontiers of the western genre, where it's every man for himself, to James Bond saving the world from evil Soviet plots – not to mention all the movies celebrating the "magic" of Christmas: film is full of individualistic messages.

But not all movies ignore the existence of communist thinking entirely: there are plenty of on-screen characters wearing overalls and flat caps, and refusing to doff those caps to authority. One of the first films to portray workers rising up was Strike, a 1925 silent movie by Russian propagandist Sergei Eisenstein. From 1952, Salt of the Earth tells the true story of workers taking action against lower wages for Mexican workers, and was subsequently banned by a Us government paranoid about communism. But even apolitical »

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Ben Vereen To Attend Charity Talent Show

13 May 2011 4:30 AM, PDT | Look to the Stars | See recent Look to the Stars news »

Ben Vereen, legendary entertainer, will attend The All Stars talent show in Harlem on Saturday, May 14 at 3:00 Pm at Bread and Roses High School where 100 inner city youth from throughout New York City will produce and perform in a vibrant hip-hop talent show featuring songs, dance and rap.

The All Stars Talent Show Network (Astsn) involves thousands of young people ages 5 to 25 in creating developmental culture through producing and performing in auditions, workshops and talent shows in neighborhood school auditoriums.

“The All Stars is taking the arts into the community and developing a bridge that allows us to see a better way to a future for all of us. When All Stars comes into the poor community, opportunity is built.” states Ben Vereen who was recently awarded the All Stars Project’s 2011 Bridge Building Award for Leadership in Community Relations.

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A decade of Cannes winners - and the films that should have won

10 May 2011 7:06 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Righting the wrongs of festivals past, I would never have awarded the Palme d'Or to the awful Dancer in the Dark. But the jury got it spot on with Nanni Moretti's deeply-moving The Son's Room

The Cannes film festival is about to start, and today is the day for savouring the eve-of-battle atmosphere … as ever, a luxurious time of leisure before critics and journalists are all plunged into a frantic rush.

For me, the proceedings will be that little bit more hectic, as I am a member of this year's Un Certain Regard jury, chaired by double-Palme d'Or winner Emir Kusturica. My gibbering excitement about this has, so far, been unremittingly uncool. Last year, at this time, I blogged about an imaginary "No Cannes Do" festival, taking place in my imagination, consisting of 10 well-received or at any rate much talked-about Cannes films which for some reason never made it to the UK. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Should non-actors work in feature films?

17 March 2011 9:51 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Directors sometimes like to use 'real' people instead of actors – the results are often wonderful

Using non-professional actors in a fictional movie is a high-risk business. There is a danger that they will, paradoxically, not look "real", or that they will look real and that their authenticity will somehow expose the fiction and createdness of the rest of the film. This blog is a footnote on this subject: in cinemas at this moment, there are two interesting uses of non-professionals.

In Joanna Hogg's Archipelago, the role of the artist and painting teacher Christopher is played by real-life artist Christopher Baker. His character, always laid-back and softly spoken, becomes a kind of father-figure to the troubled young Edward, played by Tom Hiddleston, as the pain caused by his absent father becomes ever clearer. It is a measure of how naturalistic Hogg has made her film and to the rest of the performers that Baker's gentle, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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